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By Hannah O’Hanlon
Wednesday heralded the end of an era and the beginning of a new one, as Kintyre pupils went to school in a brand new building.
After years of schooling in one of the worst school buildings in the country, which was completed in June 1969 with an expected life expectancy of 40years, the children are now at one of the most advanced.
Acting head teacher Catherine Cameron told the pupils at a welcoming assembly: ‘I want you to enjoy your new school – enjoy it, take care of it, be proud of it and be proud of yourselves.
‘This is Campbeltown Grammar School and we have a lot of which to be proud.’
Morrison Construction was behind the £26 million project, carried out by Argyll and Bute council in partnership with Hub North Scotland Ltd and the Scottish Futures Trust through the Scottish Government’s schools for the future programme.
Morrison Construction Project Director Jeff Hedley, said: ‘’Campbeltown Grammar School is the second of four education facilities we will deliver for Argyll and Bute Council and Hub North Scotland.
‘Last November pupils and teachers moved into Kirn School, Oban High School is the next facility due to be completed this spring and excellent progress is being made on the site of Dunoon Primary.’
Work began on the new school in summer 2016 and was completed on schedule, with the children leaving the old building before the February break, and returning to the new one.
Ms Cameron told the pupils that the school is a place for everyone: ‘This is a place where you should all feel you belong, regardless of social background, gender, sexual orientation – we want to celebrate diversity.’
Argyll and Bute council’s policy lead for education, Councillor Yvonne McNeilly said: ‘Today is a very special day for the young people of Kintyre.
‘This wonderful new school will enable pupils to realise their full potential and enjoy a learning experience where they can succeed.
‘Our vision is that together we will realise ambition, excellence and equality for all.’
BBC Scotland education correspondent, Jamie McIvor, was a student at Campbeltown Grammar School from 1983 to ’89.
Speaking to the Courier on Tuesday, Mr McIvor said: ‘I’m so happy for the current pupils and staff that they now have an attractive modern building at long last.
‘I have many happy memories of Campbeltown Grammar School in the 1980s but even then the building was in a bad condition.
‘While I was there, the music block was closed for about two years for safety. In our French class, the roof leaked constantly.
‘I know how teachers and staff tried their best to make the building as attractive as possible but there was only so much they could do – especially when there were some serious problems to confront.
‘A modern and attractive building can make a huge difference to a child’s enjoyment of school and their education itself. I really hope the youngsters make the most of it.’
House captains Leah McGuigan and Christina McFadyen thanked the collaboration of agencies including schools redevelopment project manager Michael Casey, Morrison Construction, and Argyll and Bute Council, and presented Mr Casey with a gift.
Ms Cameron concluded the assembly: ‘Campbeltown Grammar School has a tradition of being a key part of the community.
‘Pupils and staff of Campbeltown, throughout Argyll and Bute, are known for being warm, open, friendly and welcoming. We went to bring that to our new school and add to it.’
Acting head Catherine Cameron speaking to the school. 25_c08cgswholeschool02_cathy_cameron_acting_head
The café area with classrooms and galleries above. 25_c08cgsnewschool04_cafe