Originally built in 1876, this Category B listed building has been given an extension that is respectful to the original. After we completed this first phase of the project in November 2020, we will refurbish the existing building to create new dining facilities and a family centre for the wider community of Merkinch. The project was procured through Scape Scotland, a leading public sector procurement authority, dedicated to creating spaces, places and experiences that leave a sustainable legacy, whilst enriching the local economy across Scotland.

Key facts

The new school includes:

Construction while the school stayed running

During the development, the existing school has been kept operational. We installed temporary modular accommodation on the existing playing fields to decant existing classrooms. We undertook this work as part of an Enabling Works contract installing all the infrastructure, fencing and services.

Cross-laminated timber frame saves time and cost

We worked collaboratively in partnership with Highland Council on a value engineering phase suggesting several changes to the Stage 3 design. This work saved time and cost, and improved quality.

The design was changed from a steel frame with precast concrete/lightweight steel infill panels to a hybrid glulam and cross-laminated timber (CLT) frame and shell.

CLT provides continuous support, so we were able to use mechanically fixed brick cladding that gives the aesthetics of natural brick, but is quicker to build with no risk from adverse weather.

CLT lightened the building load on the ground, is quicker to build and enabled a cellulose-based breathable external wall, improving the learning environment. CLT also lent itself very well to the shape and size of the design.

Engaging with the community

We have worked in partnership with teachers, pupils and the community to keep them informed as well as to create lasting social value for the area.

During phase 1 of the project, activities included:

It’s great to see the project not only being delivered by local supply chain partners who will continue to benefit from the ongoing increase in investment across the Scottish public sector but also creating a sustainable education facility.

– Mark Robinson, Chief Executive, Scape

Project team

Architect: Norr
Project manager: The Highland Council
Principal contractor: Robertson Northern
Civil & structural engineer: W A Fairhurst
M&E engineer: Pick Everard
CDM coordinator: The Highland Council


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