Building works starts soon for new Catholic primary school

Parents demonstrating about proposed closure of St Joseph's Primary School in 2014.
Parents demonstrating about proposed closure of St Joseph's Primary School in 2014.

Early ground works are due to start soon at the site of a new school in Bearsden which will merge two Catholic primary schools.

The controversial proposal to close St Joseph’s Primary School in Milngavie and transfer the children to a new shared building on the St Andrew’s Primary School site in Bearsden has faced strong opposition from the start from parents and local people in Milngavie.

In the council’s own consultation 96 per cent of the school population of Milngavie wanted to keep the school in their community.

Parents have even put forward a business plan to run St Joseph’s Primary School themselves, taking it out of local authority control.

However the project, which is costing £10,660,000, has been granted permission and construction is due to start in April this year.

This will be the fifth school to be built as part of the council’s Primary School Improvement Programme (PSIP).

Ten pupils from St Joseph’s and St Andrew’s primary schools met with council leader, Rhondda Geekie, to see the site of their new school, before the diggers move in.

Councillor Geekie said: “The children were really enthusiastic about the start of the building of their new school as they were involved in helping to design the structure, so are very excited about seeing the final article in the not too distant future.”

The new school will have a capacity of 450 pupils and is expected to be complete in 2018 when both the existing St Joseph’s and St Andrew’s primary schools will close.

With input from the school community, East Dunbartonshire Council worked in collaboration with hub West Scotland and architects Holmes Miller.

The council says the design of the new school was innovative and value for money.

The new school will feature flexible and open classrooms, outdoor learning areas, landscaped play areas and a full 3G synthetic pitch. Fitted with the latest technology, there will be dedicated areas for art, science and display throughout the school.

Councillor Geekie, added: “To date we have opened two outstanding new primary schools in East Dunbartonshire, with another two due to open this spring. The feedback has been extremely positive so far, the new facilities are enhancing the pupils’ educational experience and are purpose built to better deliver the curriculum for excellence.

“I am looking forward to seeing the pupils of St Joseph’s and St Andrew’s primary schools reaping the same benefits when they come together in their new school next year.”