Work is now under way on Jedburgh’s intergenerational school campus, and Scottish Government Deputy First Minister John Swinney visited the Hartrigge Park site on Monday to take part in a ground-breaking ceremony.
The £32m campus, due to be completed by March 2020, will cater for pupils from Howdenburn and Parkside primaries, as well as those from Jedburgh Grammar School.
There will also be provision for nursery and further education.
Mr Swinney, joining pupils from all three schools and Scottish Borders Council members and officers for the ceremony, said: “Learning and teaching in such an innovative and inspirational setting can make a real difference to education outcomes.
“That is why the Scottish Government is committed to improving Scotland’s school estate, and through our £1.8bn Schools for the Future building programme, we are providing almost £18m towards this project.”
He added: “What is envisaged here is a model of education which will serve every individual in our society and, most importantly, we will ensure that we have available to young people and other citizens in Jedburgh access to high-quality facilities at every stage of their learning journey.
“Having seen the enhancement of the education estate around the country, the prospect of greater partnership with the higher and further education community and our greater school education system is a real prize for the people of Jedburgh and the surrounding area.”
East Berwickshire councillor Carol Hamilton, the council’s executive member for children and young people, added: “Jedburgh intergenerational community campus will provide education for children of all ages, as well as having the potential to support learning opportunities for older learners and wider community.
“We will work closely with our partners to ensure this project is delivered as efficiently as possible.
“I am confident the campus will be a real asset to Jedburgh and look forward to being here in two years’ time for the opening day.”
Community facilities will include a multi-use games area, 2G hockey pitch, 3G sports pitch, 100m running track, external changing pavilion and rural skills area.
Council leader Shona Haslam said: “This is another hugely significant day for Jedburgh.
“While it is hard to imagine at the moment, in two years on this site, we will have a brand new facility which will benefit generations of people in the town. Extensive consultations in the community showed the vast majority were right behind the plans for a new intergenerational campus, which will provide for two- to 102-year-olds, with further education opportunities and community facilities for the whole town.
“During construction, a number of community benefits will be delivered to support the local economy, with a local firm already involved in the project.”
Jedburgh Community Council chairman Rory Stewart added: “We have worked extremely hard over the last few years to secure the largest investment in education that the Scottish Borders has seen for a generation.
“This can only ensure that Jethart is on the educational map for many years to come.
“We will benefit greatly from the brand new facilities in sport, with all-weather playing facilities and many other indoor sporting activities that, I hope, are only the start of investment in the town.”
The project is being taken forward by the council, development partner Hub South East Scotland and main contractor BAM, and enabling works are currently being carried out by Jedburgh-based contractor RJT Excavations.