Edinburgh’s ‘worst school building’ to get £4m revamp

An artist's impression of the new nursery and gym hall at Leith Primary School. Picture: contributed
An artist's impression of the new nursery and gym hall at Leith Primary School. Picture: contributed
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NEW images have been released showing how a hall dubbed the Capital’s “worst school building” would look once a 
£4 million revamp is complete.

The designs were drawn up after city leaders decided to save Duncan Place Resource Centre in Leith, which had been earmarked for demolition amid concerns over its structure.

Any move to bulldoze the hall would probably have failed strict tests set down to protect historic sites, officials said.

Instead, it was agreed only the rear part of the centre would go, with a new gym and nursery erected in its place and the remaining block made safe.

Leith Primary Parent Council (LPPC) welcomed the blueprints after expressing concerns over delays caused by full demolition proposals which were later cancelled.

A spokeswoman said: “The Leith Primary Parent Council is very pleased that the plans for the school’s new gym and nursery are on track.

“We are looking forward to having increased nursery provision on site, and are excited about the prospect of a new, fully equipped gym, which will be a great resource for the school’s pupils and staff.

“We look forward to seeing the project progress in a safe and timely manner.”

Duncan Place Resource Centre was 
previously used for PE lessons at Leith Primary and to host a nursery class from the same school.

However, it was ranked bottom of 144 school buildings in an audit and closed suddenly in 2014, leaving dozens of community groups homeless.

At the time, officials stressed there was no immediate safety risk, adding that the closure was a “precautionary step”.

City chiefs today said the new development would transform learning and exercise opportunities for young people.

Councillor Paul Godzik, education leader, said: “This is a really exciting project which will see a new nursery and gym built at the school.

“We are working hard to get these new facilities delivered as soon as possible and are making great progress.

“We now have approval to demolish the rear of the Duncan Place building to make room for the new gym and nursery, the designs for which have now been submitted to planning and which look fantastic.”

A drop-in information session was recently held at Leith Primary to give those in the school and local community an opportunity to see designs for the redeveloped building. Staff said the response so far had been “very positive”.

Cllr Godzik added: “We will continue to ensure the local community are kept fully updated as the project continues.”

Duncan Place Resource Centre was built in the 1920s and is a category C-listed building.

A playground extension has also been completed following successful moves to transfer a section of neighbouring St Andrew Place to Leith Primary.

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com