The skirl of bagpipes has marked the first day for pupils at a multi-million-pound north-east school.
Following the October break, youngsters from Inverurie Academy returned to classes in the £55 million Inverurie community campus.
As well as the secondary school it is also the new home for children from St Andrew’s Primary School.
The new building boasts a swimming pool, which is now open for online bookings, a gym, a number of fully equipped sports halls and a multi-functional theatre space.
A bagpiper provided the soundtrack yesterday as pupils were treated to traditional Scottish music as they made their way inside their new home.
Youngsters gave the move into the new school a thumbs up with the structure being praised.
The coronavirus crisis meant the opening of the new community campus was delayed for more than six months.
It was hoped the new facility would open in the spring but the pandemic meant construction workers were forced to down tools as a result of lockdown restrictions brought in to tackle the pandemic in March.
Pupils from Inverurie Academy spent the first semester of the new term at their now former site which sits adjacent to the new school.
Sixth-year pupil Christopher Forbes, 17, hopes to study chemistry at Aberdeen University and has hailed his new surroundings.
He said: “It is just great. It’ll take a bit of getting used to but I really like it here.
“Everyone is really happy. After all the stress with the exams, it is really good to have these facilities.”
Caitlyn McGladrigan is in sixth-year art Inverurie Academy and believes the new school set up will provides her with an educational boost.
The 17-year-old said: “These facilities are a massive opportunity and it will help with everyone’s learning. It is brilliant for us all.
“The new school is massive and I’m still getting used to it.”
At the new community campus secondary pupils will have a dance studio, “social staircase” areas as well as other break-out spaces, a balcony, an amphitheatre and even a hair and make-up/theatre dressing room learning space.
St Andrew’s School will benefit from its own dedicated section of the facility, including multiple sensory rooms, a sensory garden, a warm water pool, a therapy pool and even a dedicated rebound therapy space.
The campus’ sports and leisure facilities are run by Live Life Aberdeenshire on behalf of Aberdeenshire Council.
Inverurie Academy’s headteacher, Mark Jones said it was “exciting” to welcome pupils back to school in a new building.
He said the new multi-million-pound structure is “wonderful” and will benefit young people learning there.
Mr Jones said: “This is a chance for us to put 110 years of history into a new building.
“Like any big project, it certainly had its challenges with the biggest one being Covid-19. Just like moving house, it had its own ups and downs.
“But it is really exciting with these fantastic facilities to enhance the quality of our learning.
“Speaking to the staff they have been getting used to the building really quickly and they love it.
“It is wonderful.”
The Aberdeenshire Council capital project was led by developer Hub North Scotland and builder the Robertson Group.
The original Inverurie Academy building was designed by A. Marshall Mackenzie in 1902.
The extended building saw pupils first attending higher grade classes in 1909.
At that time, there there were two distinct buildings – a primary school for children in classes up to the age of 14 and another premises for secondary pupils who needed to pass a qualifying exam to continue their studies.
They remained separate until the 1950s when they were joined together with the construction of the current assembly hall.
Initial construction work on Inverurie community campus began in January 2018 and a topping out ceremony was held in August that year.