Further financial approvals for three Aberdeen schools  

Ferryhill Primary School, Aberdeen

A PRIMARY school and two high schools are to get major building improvements after the projects were approved at Aberdeen City Council’s Finance and Resources Committee today. 

Outline approvals were agreed for the construction works at Ferryhill Primary School, St Machar Academy, and Harlaw Academy. 

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Finance and Resources convener Councillor Alex McLellan said: “I am pleased that Aberdeen City Council has agreed to progress capital improvements at St Machar Academy, Harlaw Academy and Ferryhill Primary School.  

“This improvement works will improve the learning environment for both pupils and school staff and I am pleased that they are progressing.” 

Education and Children’s Servies Committee convener Councillor Martin Greig said: “This major investment in school buildings will make a real difference in improving the learning environment for the benefit of pupils. It’s great to get this work started. The Council’s School Estate Plan is an important programme for the whole city.” 

The improvements will be: 

·         to refurbish and extend Ferryhill School including a new PE hall and provide a standalone nursery building; 

·         grounds improvements with covered dining at St Machar Academy; 

·         a first floor extension, outdoor covered area at Harlaw Academy, and the extension and refurbishment of Harlaw Road Pavilion. 

All of the building improvements will contribute towards the Council’s Net Zero targets, a report to committee said. The works for all three schools will be required to ensure the safety of each site is maintained and any disruption to learning and teaching is minimised. 

At Ferryhill Primary School, the improvements will mean: 

·         A building with improved flexibility and better use of space across the whole site; 

·         A modern dining facility providing a much improved experience for the pupils and staff, and facilitate any future free school meals expansion; 

·         A double-court PE hall, which conforms with Sport Scotland guidance; 

·         Improved nursery provision including direct access to the outdoors. 

Detailed design work would be undertaken over the next year, with a view to construction work starting in Summer 2025 and the construction period would then be in the region of 12-15 months. 

Due to the extent of the work required, it will be necessary for pupils and staff to be relocated to an alternative school building of the currently-empty Walker Road School, for the duration of the works. It is anticipated that the relocation would take place prior to the start of the school session in August 2025. 

Initial discussions on these plans have already taken place with the staff and Parent Council at the school and this dialogue will continue over the next year, as the detailed plans take shape. Full details of the relocation plan will be part of a report to Council at a later date. 

At St Machar Academy, the improvements to the outside space and new facilities will include: 

·         The removal of the disused classroom units; 

·         New covered outside dining facility with food pod servery to complement existing indoor facilities and provide a wider choice of options for pupils, that can also be used as an outdoor classroom and pupil social space; 

·         New sports facilities with a multiuse games area (MUGA) adjacent to the existing all weather sports pitch and improved field drainage; 

·         New direct access to the sports field that will incorporate a spectator seating area which can also be used as an outdoor classroom and pupil social space;  

·         A new outdoor classroom; 

·         Improved site security with new perimeter fencing to enable the site to be secured during the school day and prevent members of the public from accessing the playground; 

·         Improved fire evacuation with direct safe access to the muster points in the field without the need to leave site 

A programme of work will be tendered with a view to construction work starting in Autumn 2024, and with completion anticipated in Autumn 2025. 

For Harlaw Academy, the improvements will include: 

·         The formation of a first floor extension on the Harlaw Academy site, creating a fit for purpose dining hall and catering facility; 

·         An outdoor covered area sitting on ground level, below the new extension to ensure that pupils do not lose valuable outdoor space and provide additional space for recreation and eating; 

·         Additional outdoor space on the roof as a PE and general teaching space; 

·         Security improvements to the school site;  

·         Alterations to current spaces within the school to provide new teaching classrooms, to assist with the predicted increase in roll; 

·         Refurbishment and extension of the existing pavilion building at Harlaw Road Playing Fields; 

·         Relocation of outdoor PE provision to Harlaw Road Playing Fields. 

The refurbishment and extension of the Harlaw Road Playing Fields pavilion is closely related to the separate approved project to replace the Hazlehead Academy building. During the construction phase of that project, pupils at Hazlehead Academy will require to use the playing fields at Groats Road for their outdoor PE provision, as the playing fields at Hazlehead Academy will become the site for the new school building. 

This means that the relocation of Harlaw Academy’s outdoor PE provision from Groats Road to Harlaw Road requires to be completed as soon as possible, to avoid any delays to the Hazlehead Academy project. 

The contract for the refurbishment and extension of the pavilion at Harlaw Road Playing Fields will therefore be prioritised and taken forward as soon as possible.  Detailed design work would be undertaken over the next year, with a view to the refurbishment and extension of the Harlaw Road Playing Fields Pavilion starting prior to summer 2025, with an estimated construction period of 12 months. There would be no requirement for pupils and staff to be relocated from Harlaw Academy while the works are taking place. 

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