An important milestone for the future of education in the Craigmillar area of Edinburgh has been reached as pupils marked the start of construction work on a replacement Castlebrae High School.
Pupils Megan Douglas, Josh Heath, Hamilton Cruikshank and Ahmed Khan joined representatives from the City of Edinburgh Council, partners Hub South East and contractors Morrison Construction, at a special sod-cutting ceremony.
The £28m project, being delivered by Hub South East in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council, with Morrison Construction the main contractor, will see the school due to be completed by August 2021.
Plans for the brand new 700 capacity secondary school, which has the potential to be increased to 1,200, were developed after extensive consultation with educationalists, service users and the local community.
The new school is being built in the heart of Craigmillar, next to the East Neighbourhood Centre and Library. An important aspect of the design is the provision of a variety of spaces for learning activities to support collaborative and inclusive practice, developing and enhancing strategies for continuing improvement in attainment and achievement.
Externally there will be extensive landscaped areas for outdoor learning activities and a 3G artificial football pitch, which will be available for use by the local community outside school hours, as well as a community town square.
Councillor Ian Perry, Education Convener of the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “It was great to see work progressing on the site of what will be our fifth new high school we have built in recent years. This is an exciting time for the education in the Capital with two further new schools opening this year, and construction work having started on two others.
“Today’s event demonstrates our commitment to investing in our children’s education by creating a first-class learning environment for all our children which will also be an exciting, inspirational and creative hub for the whole community.”
Councillor Alison Dickie, Education Vice Convener, said: “As a Council we are taking every opportunity to innovatively build schools for the future that are fit for 21st Century learning – as this exciting design shows with extensive landscaped areas for outdoor learning activities.
“The new schools we are creating all support greater accessibility and inclusion for all our young people. We will continue to develop the designs of our future school projects so they can support the needs of all learners and provide a much more inclusive environment promoting greater health and wellbeing.”
Head Teacher Norma Prentice said: “It’s so exciting to be the Head Teacher of the new high school for Craigmillar. This new build is thoroughly deserved and will benefit the whole community by delivering high quality learning and teaching and enhancing the school’s journey of continued improvement. All the pupils and staff can’t wait to move in next year.”
Richard Park, Director at Hub South East: “It’s exciting to mark the start of construction on site at Castlebrae. In particular, we’re delighted to welcome two S3 school pupils Ahmed and Hamilton, as they learn about communications and PR as part of their World of Work Week.
“This is a great example of how a construction project can provide wider community benefits and we look forward to working with the Council and our supply chain to ensure the project is delivered successfully, realising positive benefits for the local area, as well as the staff and pupils who will enjoy the new, modern facility.”
Eddie Robertson, Managing Director for Morrison Construction Central Building, said: “The start of a new project is an exciting time for all involved and it’s good to note that we already have rapid progress on the groundwork for the new Castlebrae High School. Morrison Construction has a strong track record in developing and delivering education projects in partnership with City of Edinburgh Council and we will bring all that experience to bear in ensuring that the children of Craigmillar receive a school building to be proud of, while the wider community will be able to enjoy 21st century public facilities.
“We are also committed to a programme of exciting engagement activities that will benefit the pupils and surrounding community during this project."