Sep 5 2012 By Graham Miller
Coltness High School
THERE was no trace of post-holiday blues when pupils and teachers returned to Coltness High last month.
The spring in their collective step was undoubtedly due to the resumption of lessons occurring inside a new £26million state-of-the-art school.
Over the summer the finishing touches were applied to the redevelopment and refurbishment of the secondary’s main building – completing the three-year project that has witnessed the transformation of the outdated and well-worn premises into a fantastic new flagship facility.
Pupils have an added sense of achievement as they begin the new session, knowing they played a part in helping design it.
First to fourth year students were invited to come up with ideas for the school’s social spaces, which were developed through a series of workshops and brought together by the main contractor Graham Construction and included in the finished layout.
Last week, the Wishaw Press was given a tour of the new building by a trio of proud sixth year students.
Erin Brown, Claire Cleland and Courtney Stewart have watched with wonder as their school has been altered almost beyond recognition.
Erin beamed: “It really is incredible. Everyone – pupils and teachers alike – is delighted by the results. I almost wish I was starting back in first year, just to be able to take advantage of the wonderful facilities.”
Courtney said: “It’s good that pupils had an input into the design and decor. It makes it more personal and you feel you’ve been a part of the process.”
While Claire added: “Seeing the building so clean and tidy will make everyone determined to keep it that way.”
The new main building’s ground floor includes a bright, stylish dining and social area with special buddy booths, a plush, well-equipped library and a smart office block.
Stairwells and corridors throughout are spacious, with water coolers on each floor and a lift allowing wheelchair access.
The first floor accommodates the English department, along with social subjects and pupil support.
On the second floor is mathematics, modern languages and support for learning, while housed on the top floor is the art department and religious education.
Art teacher Tracey Angus said: “I think the new building is amazing and will undoubtedly do a lot for pupils’ self-motivation.
“In our own department, the storage area is bigger than my previous classroom. The new equipment is excellent too.
“We now have a kiln room for pottery and projectors which allow us to perform desk demonstrations.”
Head teacher Donald Fergusson is another delighted with the results.
He said: “I think it’s fantastic. The feedback I’ve received from pupils and staff has been extremely positive.
“Apart from the wonderful departmental facilities, there are many other aspects of the building that enhance the school. For example, we now have so much extra storage space. It may sound trivial but, in the past, lack of storage was a bit of a problem.
“Even the wider corridors make it so much easier for the pupils to get around. The attention to detail is excellent and I have to say that Graham Construction have done a great job.”
Gary Holmes, of Graham Construction, said: “Seeing this project through from a derelict building to what it has become gives such a sense of achievement for all the team.
“The redevelopment involved removing the outdated sections of the old school and stripping the existing shell right back.
“The new areas are designed to flow into the re-modernised sections and the spacious social area on the ground floor is a great meeting point, especially considering the kids helped design it.”