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Academy project praised by First Minister

By Chris Cromar

Progress on one of Scotland’s largest school and community construction projects has been praised today, following a visit by First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon and a host of local dignitaries on Monday.

Inverurie Community Campus, which is due to open in April 2020, played host to the First Minister and local guests, keen to get an update on the construction project.

Once complete, the £55 million campus will be home to Inverurie Academy and St Andrew’s School, extensive community sports and leisure facilities, such as a six-lane swimming pool, a multi-use games area and two all-weather pitches.

The facilities on offer will be of use to the community and the school simultaneously and will be a valued space for pupils and residents alike.

The Aberdeenshire Council capital project is being led by developers hub North Scotland and built by Robertson Group.

It is one of the main projects in the council's capital plan and has been supported by investment from the Scottish Futures Trust.

Speaking to the Inverurie Advertiser, First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon said: “It's brilliant, I'm really impressed, this is going to be a fantastic learning facility for young people in Inverurie and the scale and the quality of it is quite breathtaking.

“So, not long to go now before young people move in and it's going to be brilliant.”

Aberdeenshire East MSP, Gillian Martin who joined the First Minister said: “I was pleased to visit Inverurie Community Campus today with the First Minister, where we got an update of the construction progress.

“The campus will bring world class facilities to young people and communities of the north-east. I welcome the news that the site will be operational in March next year and opened in spring of 2020.

“The Scottish Government is committed to improving Scotland’s school estate and ensuring we get education right for every child in Scotland.”

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council's education and children’s services committee, Councillor Gillian Owen said: “It’s absolutely fantastic to see the modern, dynamic, multi-purpose spaces the campus will offer taking shape.

“This project will bring together two different learning estates together in innovative ways designed to meet the needs of all.

“It really is a place the whole community can be proud of and we are very grateful to our partners in this project.

“Personally, I can’t wait to see pupils on site enjoying their new school next year and for many years to come. Today’s visit shows the national importance of projects such as this and we are committed to investing in the future of our young people.”

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Communities Committee, councillor Anne Stirling was also pleased to see such an important future community hub receive such welcome attention, she said: “These facilities are being built in the heart of Inverurie and will improve the quality of life on offer for many local people.

“The Community Campus is a demonstration of Aberdeenshire Council’s commitment to investing in our communities, helping to maintain what makes Aberdeenshire a great place in which to live and work.

“The promotion of active lifestyles, and the knock-on impact on health and wellbeing, is a significant priority for us as a council, and I remain convinced that facilities like this are part of the answer to supporting communities.”

Chief executive of hub North Scotland, Michael Padzinski said: “Inverurie Community Campus is hub North Scotland’s largest development to date and is a testament to the collaborative work between hub North, Aberdeenshire Council and Robertson Construction.

“It will offer a superb range of education and community amenities to deliver a 21st century facility that will be enjoyed by all.”

Chairman of Robertson Group, Bill Robertson, summed up by saying: “We were very pleased to welcome the First Minister to Inverurie Community Campus to get a first-hand view at the state-of-the-art complex that we and our partners at Aberdeenshire Council and hub North Scotland are delivering.

“As one of the largest school construction projects in Scotland, this £55m project will provide modern education, sports and community facilities for the area and is another milestone for Robertson in our delivery of contemporary, fit-for-purpose school projects.”

Members of the public and community groups have a chance to see work progressing on the campus site as part of the sell-out community open doors days, taking place this coming weekend.

Following this, the site will move to the pre-completion stage, which means no other visit can be facilitated, as it is important to allow the contractors to concentrate on this important phase.

A further event will be planned in March to mark the building handover.

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