Lochaber High School to get facelift

13 September 2009 Fort William

Lochaber High School, which is the second biggest secondary education facility in the Highlands, is now receiving a major facelift.

Work is underway on Phase I (a £7.9million refurbishment), part of a larger £15million project.

Head teacher Jim Sutherland said, “It is an exciting time to be at Lochaber High School with so many changes under way and all are looking forward to the benefits that state-of-the-art facilities will bring to the school and wider community.” Councillor Michael Foxley, leader of Highland Council’s administration, told the Aberdeen Press and Journal, “The school will soon have some of the best sports facilities in Scotland and a greatly improved learning environment.”

The liberal arts are a center-piece in the new plans which include a sports and drama centre, four-court games hall, viewing area, teaching areas, shower and changing rooms, new gymnasium and a complete fitness suite.

The old facilities were demolished and foundations poured for the construction of a dance studio, among other areas. Even the school courtyard is getting a makeover, with a concrete white elephant being demolished to make way for views of Ben Nevis.

Also included in the project are the refurbishing of eight classrooms, a seminar room, staff offices, toilet and social facilities. There will be new heating systems and electrical systems as part of this project, which should improve energy efficiency and reduce operating expenses.

The next phase is still undergoing final planning, but if it it’s anything like this one, it will be a welcome improvement to the stoic Lochaber High School.



Fort William Buildings Earmarked for Refurbishment

18 September 2009 Fort William

Many buildings in the Lochaber area are set for refurbishment as signs of economic stability and stimulation return to the region.

Some of the most noteworth buildings include the old Fort William High School, reported on in our news 13 September, the former NHS clinic in Caol, and the Nevis Bank Hotel, now under new ownership.

When this is put into context which includes a renewed bid for a town centre regeneration, waterfront development talks, west end planning and building, new housing starts in Upper Achintore and a number of yet un-publicised plans, there are definitely signs of life being breathed into Fort William and Lochaber.

Kilmallie Road is the site of the former NHS community clinic which is scheduled to see council homes being built in its stead. This facility has decayed rapidly since the establishment of the new health centre on the outskirts of Fort William (Camaghael).

Thanks to some forwarding thinking officials in the council housing and social work department, some government monies have been earmarked for building eight new homes on the former NHS site in 2010.

With more than 800 people on the housing register for Lochaber, the move to build additional homes cannot come soon enough!

There are many other Fort William building projects underway or in planning which further signal a possible return to normal, following the past financial crisis which has hurt the local economy.