Green light for new Mearns Academy

Plans for a £23 million replacement academy in Laurencekirk were approved by councillors on Thursday.

Building work on the new Mearns Academy is due to start next month, after councillors approved the project costs and awarded the contract at a meeting of the Policy & Resources Committee.

The 840-pupil school and community campus will feature a range of sports facilities, including a four-court games hall, gym, fitness suite and sports pitches.

The new site, covering just under 17 acres off Aberdeen Road, Laurencekirk, was purchased by Aberdeenshire Council in February this year.

The replacement Mearns Academy has been approved at a cost of £23,377,662. The project is part-funded by the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) which is providing £9,738,000 for the new facility.

The council is committed to providing employment and work experience opportunities while the academy is being built. Contractor Lend Lease proposes to award 75% of the work to contractors within a 30-mile radius of Laurencekirk.

It is expected that the school will be completed in June 2014, with the first classes operating from August of that year.

Committee chair, Cllr Jim Gifford, said: “I am extremely pleased that councillors have given the go-ahead for work to start on building a new academy in Laurencekirk.

“This is an exciting development for the council, and will be a focal point for the whole of the community.”

Vice-chair, Cllr Martin Kitts-Hayes, said: “A replacement Mearns Academy has been part of the council’s long-term asset management strategy and I am pleased to see that the work has been approved.”