THE PEOPLE of Forfar are being urged to speak out now about how they hope the new Forfar Community Campus will develop at the Forfar Academy site.
With the funding in place and a clear timetable laid out for development and construction, time is of the essence to take part in the consultation process to ensure the community campus “ticks all the boxes” and is as inclusive as possible.
At the first of two workshop sessions on Wednesday, council officers leading the ambitious £33 million project outlined the hopes and aspirations for the new secondary school – and gave a brief description of the community facilities – including a new swimming pool and all weather pitch – which are pencilled in.
However, the scope to develop community services are many and varied, with plans for a drama studio, community library, open space/cafe – all mooted.
In what is the biggest investment in community facilities for a generation, the message coming out loud and clear was “get involved now” to ensure what is produced at the end of the day is what the people in the local community want, and need.
Members of the project team have consulted their counterparts in neighbouring local authorities who have provided similar facilities in the past, and they have promised to “learn from their mistakes” when developing school provision in the town.
Opening the meeting, Angus Councillor Sheena Welsh, convener of education, said she hoped those present would find the meeting “useful, informative and productive.”
Senior education manager Craig Clement took the floor stating the community campus was not just a huge opportunity for Forfar Academy, but for the town as a whole.
He said; “We have the rare opportunity to build a new school and community campus that meets the needs of a wide range of people. We want to make the best of this opportunity and tonight is one of the steps in that process.”
He outlined the opportunities to improve provisions, meeting educational requirements, Angus College, community learning and development and enhanced sports provision (including swimming pool).
The school would be developed with the Curriculum for Excellence and pupils with additional support needs in mind, making the school purpose built.
“It will make the best use of school grounds and offers the chance to have everything on one campus.”
Gordon Cargill, project manager, said one of the key aspects of how the project was being developed was to “make sure we don’t make the same mistakes we have made in the past - not that we have made many”.
“This is an opportunity to develop from scratch - from a blank canvas - a campus designed to meet the needs of the school and wider Forfar community.”
He said there was to be a flexible/multiple functional approach to space with the vision to maximise opportunities.
The campus facilities could include more flexible learning space to support the Curriculum for Excellence; wi-fi technology throughout, a performance space which could host a variety of events, a Learning Resource Centre, social/cafe space, swimming pool, dry sports facilities, external synthetic sports pitch and outdoor learning opportunities.
The school building is planned for the current playing fields and access will be improved.
The speed the new campus will be developed was also outlined; the development of what is required is to be completed by May/June 2013; design development by March 2014; construction phase 1 completed for August 2016 and construction phase 2 for April 2017.
He urged members of the community to take part in the consultation by logging on to the Have Your Say section on Angus Council’s website on www.angus.gov.uk/hys/ or by writing directly to the Director of Education at Angus House, Orchardbank Business Park, Forfar, DD8 1AE.
The council ask those wishing to make comments to contact them by mid-March.