July start on new school

The start of work on the new Mearns Academy community campus is edging ever closer, but questions remain regarding community use of the building.

Rector Ian Parkin told Mearns Community Council that a stakeholder meeting was held last week.

He added that a management committee will be set up to organise and co-ordinate the access and usage of the building.

He said the new school would have a separate area for buses to arrive and depart which was to be welcomed, but with half the school population walking home to Laurencekirk at the end of the day, there were concerns about the width of the pavement.

David Nelson told the meeting that tenders for the new school have gone out and work is expected to start on-site in mid July.

He said the stakeholder meeting had been told that the fitness suite at the school would be staffed by dedicated staff to allow public use during the day.

Mr Parkin however questioned whether this would be the case. He said there were things the school had to deliver for its students and he suggested the staffing referred to would be outwith school hours.

Alan Mowat said that with the exisiting sports centre having become no more than a school gym, there were no sports groups in Laurencekirk to play a community involvement role.

“If what is being said is true, we still do not have a sports centre, we have an evening sports centre and the council need to acknowledge that.

“I have to say however that the new school will be a stunning building. They have done themselves proud.”

The Burns Memorial Plaque, which commemorates the visit of Robert Burns to Laurencekirk may find a home in the school. It used to be on the wall of the Gardenstone Hotel which is now demolished. Those behind a housing development on the hotel site would be willing to take the plaque, but there is no timescale for work beginning.