The final countdown is on for Forfar Academy staff and pupils - with just over a month to go until they move into their new school.
An extra two free days have been allocated by the local authority to coincide with the February mid-term break to accommodate the move from the current Taylor Street building, and it is all systems go to ensure everything is ready on time.
Head teacher Mr Melvyn Lynch told us: “If you think moving house is one of the big stressers in life – just try to imagine what it’s like to move a school that has been going along nicely for the past 50 years!
“However, I’m delighted to report that the ‘flit’ is already well under way at the Academy, with staff and pupils sorting out what to take, from what to leave.
“Skips have been delivered every other week to take away the rubbish, while packing has started for everything we will need in the new campus.
“Staff are trying to have a daily clearout in the lead up to the move to try to avoid a last minute rush and a good number of pupils are helping pack boxes at lunchtimes.
“This will continue for the next month – and then, no doubt, the panic will set in!”
The community campus incorporates the replacement for Forfar Academy, the Lochside Leisure Centre and Forfar Swimming Pool.
It has been designed to provide enhanced community facilities including a performance space and accommodation for adult learning and youth activities.
The first phase of the project involved the construction of the new campus building, car park and initial sports pitches; the second phase will see the demolition of old school buildings and the completion of the external works, including the sports fields.
The new facility is being developed by Angus Council in partnership with the East Central Territory hubco.
There will be specific areas in the campus for use by community groups and for sports activities. The majority of areas will be available if required and can be timetabled to suit the building users.
The level of access to the community will vary with the school year, with more facilities available outwith school terms and hours. There will be separate school and community café facilities. The community café will be open throughout the year.
In order to ensure a smooth transfer into the new building, staff and pupils will be off for a full week from the afternoon of Wednesday, February 8.
The new school will then open on Thursday, February 16.
In a letter to parents, Mr Lynch explained the pupils should report to the old school that day.
He said: “The school will then walk to the campus during the morning. Additional support arrangements will be put in place for pupils who require this.
“Please be assured that our staff are working very hard to ensure that we gain all of the benefits from the new facility and to minimise any disruption to pupils’ learning caused by the move.”
Mr Lynch continued: “We are very grateful for the additional two closure days to ensure the move is as effective as possible and are also indebted to colleagues from other schools who have volunteered to help with the move of equipment, particularly all of the computers.
“All this in addition to the day job and the Prelims that have started earlier this year, to take account of the move.
“However, the carrot in all of this is the move to the fantastic facilities that we will be enjoying in the new campus before we know it.
“A busy, but tremendously exciting time for all involved and one which we are all really looking forward to.”
The leisure facilities at the campus will replace those currently provided at the Lochside Leisure Centre and Forfar Swimming Pool.
On Thursday we asked Angus Council for clarification on when the new sports facilities at the campus i.e. swimming pool and leisure centre will become functional and what will happen to the current leisure centre and swimming pool.
Despite repeated requests, at the time of going to press on Tuesday (yesterday), no information had been made available to us.