Plans to build a new school for children of all ages in Jedburgh have moved another step closer to becoming a reality.
The Scottish Government has given the go-ahead to for the £32m inter-generational campus to be built at the town’s Hartrigge Park.
It has also given Scottish Borders Council a formal thumbs-up to close the current nursery, primary, secondary and specialist schools in line to be replaced by the new campus in 2020.
That procedural decision by ministers follows the council’s planning committee approving a planning application for the school last month.
It means that work can now begin on building a replacement for Jedburgh Grammar School and Howdenburn and Parkside primary schools.
The forthcoming campus will offer provision for nursery, primary and secondary school children, aged from two to 18, plus community facilities.
It will include a multi-use games area, 2G hockey pitch, 3G sports pitch, running track, external changing pavilion and rural skills area.
The project is being overseen by the council and development partner Hub South East Scotland, and Hertfordshire-based BAM Construction, part of the Dutch Royal BAM Group, has been given the contract to build the school.
Funding for the campus was confirmed by Scottish Government Deputy First Minister John Swinney during a visit to Jedburgh in August last year.
It is one of four projects sharing £28m being handed out as part of the latest phase of the Scottish Government’s £1.8bn Schools for the Future programme.
Site clearance work is now about to start, and several trees there will be felled over the coming weeks.
Advance groundworks will start in the spring, and once further contracts are signed in the summer, building work will get under way, with a view to completion by March 2020.
Council leader Shona Haslam said: “I am delighted we are making good progress towards opening a new inter-generational community campus for Jedburgh in 2020.
“The new facility will serve the whole community, from two to 102-year-olds, with further education opportunities and community facilities for the town.
“This is an innovative scheme to delivery nursery, primary and secondary provision simultaneously, as well as significant regeneration benefits to Jedburgh.
“Health and wellbeing, employment, lifelong learning, culture, tourism and high-quality collaboration space for local businesses with high-quality digital connectivity are just some of the benefits this new campus will offer.”
East Berwickshire councillor Carol Hamilton, the authority’s executive member for children and young people, added: “This project aims to strengthen Jedburgh’s reputation as a learning town.
“We want to provide a facility where children and people of all ages can grow and learn together and where education is embedded within the character and quality of the place.
“Alongside the new schools at Langlee, Broomlands, Duns and Kelso, this project is further proof of the council’s commitment to improving education.”
Scott Brown, projects director for Hub South East, added: “It’s great to see the plans for this new campus for Jedburgh progressing at pace, and we look forward to working with Scottish Borders Council and our contractor BAM Construction to deliver a facility which supports a modern learning experience fit for the needs of all generations.
“We’re also keen to ensure that the project delivers real community benefits during its construction, and we will be offering a range of opportunities locally so that individuals and small businesses in the Borders can benefit from the investment being made in this fantastic new development.”