Sep 12 2012 By Robert Mitchell
New £21million Calderhead High School in Shotts
THE recent unveiling of the ultra-modern Calderhead High represents the dawn of an exciting new era – not just for pupils and staff, but the residents of Shotts as a whole.
That’s the view of the school’s head teacher Linda Park, who had great difficulty suppressing her pride when she gave the Wishaw Press a tour of the wonderful new £21million facility last week.
And in fairness to Linda, she does have a lot to be proud of. The town’s new school is very impressive, both inside and out, and amounts to the biggest single capital investment in Shotts for 40 years.
Recalling the pupils’ first day last month she beamed: “It was a truly memorable occasion. A lot of the students, particularly those who had already been at Calderhead for a number of years, were completely overwhelmed by how fantastic the new school is.
“In the weeks since then I’ve noticed a real sense of ownership from the pupils. They’re motivated, everyone is getting to school early and there’s next to no litter left lying around after break times.”
Walking around Calderhead High it’s easy to understand why many of the pupils have likened it to the stylish American colleges they watch on popular TV shows like Glee.
The bright and roomy social dining area is positively futuristic, with enough space and contemporary furniture to easily accommodate the school’s 460 pupils.
It was interesting to note that during break-time, even though it was sunny outside, almost all the students remained indoors, taking full advantage of their comfortable new surroundings.
Contrasting the modernity of the dining area is a huge mural that encompasses a three-storey wall – and highlights the town’s renowned industrial past. Entitled Shotts Lights The World, the illuminated mural was designed by a group of Calderhead pupils and depicts a group of miners in pit helmets and the famous Shotts Horn which was used to signify shift changes at the town’s pits, as well as Bertram de Shotts, a mythical giant reputed to have roamed the area centuries ago.
It’s a striking image and one that’s easily visible from outside the school grounds after dark.
Elsewhere on the building’s ground floor is a fabulous assembly hall, which will double as a theatre and incorporates a full working dance studio, a well-equipped music department, including a first-class recording studio replete with a comprehensive collection of electric guitars and drum kits.
The huge gym hall has two retractable dividing walls that make it easy for teaching staff to offer a range of sporting activities. The changing rooms are very impressive too – roomy and with individual shower cubicles.
Every other department throughout the three-storey building is likewise fully equipped to afford pupils the most positive learning experience possible.
There’s even a health and beauty studio and a construction room where lecturers from Motherwell College come to instruct pupils interested in careers such as hairdressing and bricklaying.
Other features in the building include a lift for disabled access; anti-bullying toilets; wide, bright, colour-co-ordinated corridors; an exhibition area that will display works created by pupils; a plush sixth year common room; and a well-equipped fitness suite that overlooks the gym hall.
Linda went on: “I must thank builders Balfour Beatty for doing such a wonderful job. We developed a fantastic working relationship and everyone is bowled over by what they’ve given us.
“I’d also like to thank my teaching staff for all their hard work and effort, particularly in the countdown to the opening when they did a lot of extra work.
“I’m very fortunate to have such a young, vibrant and innovative team.”
Linda is planning to hold a series of open days in the coming weeks to allow residents of Shotts to see around the school.
She added: “I know that local people, many of whom will have attended Calderhead at some point, are excited to have a good look at our magnificent new school and it’s something I’m in the process of organising.”