CONSTRUCTION has begun on a new £34 million school in Edinburgh, which will replace the former school of Prime of Miss Jean Brodie author Muriel Spark.
Demolition of the existing James Gillespie’s High School building in the Marchmont area of the city is under way, to be replaced by a new teaching block and sports facility.
It follows a new nursery and gym for James Gillespie’s Primary School at the same site.
When it is completed by summer 2016, the High School will house 1,150 pupils and 104 staff.
The Grade A-listed Bruntsfield House on the campus will also undergo a major refurbishment.
The Scottish Government said it is supporting £20 million of the cost of the new school with funding from its £1.25 billion Scotland’s Schools for the Future programme under which 67 new schools are planned.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “In Scotland we are building many new schools, and refurbishing still more to provide an excellent learning environment for staff and pupils.
“Investment in infrastructure projects such as the new James Gillespie’s High School, not only supports jobs and apprenticeships locally, but it also helps the wider Scottish economy.”
Paul Godzik, education convener at Edinburgh City Council, said: “I was really impressed with the high quality facilities at the primary school which I opened last month and those buildings have definitely set the standard for the high school.”
Gemma Gordon, schools programme director with Scottish Futures Trust, said: “SFT’s work in managing the Scotland’s Schools for the Future programme has meant an additional 12 schools will be built from within the existing £1.25 billion budget.
“James Gillespie’s High School is the first revenue-financed project to be delivered by the South East Hub.
“Reaching financial close means construction is under way now rather than waiting many years for capital funding to become available.”
Spark, author of the Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, attended what was previously James Gillespie’s High School for Girls.