A SCHOOL in Dunbar is set to undergo a £10 million extension as part of an effort to cope with the town’s expanding population.
Plans to revamp Dunbar Grammar School were unveiled by East Lothian Council in a move which will enable it to cater for 1199 pupils, an increase of 350 places.
The contract for the two-storey extension has been awarded to Innovate and work should be completed by August 2018.
Cllr Norman Hampshire, spokesman for environment and planning, said: “This is fantastic news for Dunbar and for the Grammar. We have welcomed development in the town and we have a growing and thriving community.
“Dunbar Grammar is at the very heart of our community and this expansion will mean it is fit for purpose and ready to give all our young people from Dunbar and the Dunbar catchment a great education and a really good start in life.”
East Lothian Council said the extension was necessary to help the town cope with its growing population, with 1300 new homes set to be built in the town over the next five years.
It marks the second phase of Dunbar Grammar’s expansion, with the £380,000 phase one completed in August this year. Phase two will see the creation of 15 new classrooms, a new social area with library resources and staff accommodation, as well as a new drama room and all-weather sports pitch. The school’s existing home economics area and fitness room will also be moved to the new building.
The project will include funding from developers’ contributions gathered as a result of the additional houses that have been built in the area.
News of the expansion was welcomed by Conservative councillor Michael Veitch.
He said: “It’s been a long time coming and Dunbar is a massively growing area. There’s a lot of new housing going up all the time so it’s good news that this extension is going forward.
“It will be a huge asset to the school so it’s good news and will be welcomed by everyone in the community.”
However, Cllr Veitch said he feared the school would need to expand further in years to come.
He added: “The reality is that because of the huge pressure on East Lothian [Council] from the Scottish Government to provide land for upwards of 10,000 homes over the next few years Dunbar will continue to grow.
“I suspect that will lead to yet more pressure on the school in the near future even when this extension has been done.
“I fear with the housing target they will need to extend further.”
Census figures from 2011 said 13,337 were living in the Dunbar and East Linton ward, an increase of 22 per cent from the 2001 figure of 10,931. The equivalent increase for East Lothian came in at 10.7 per cent.
Based on the 2012 population projections, the population of Dunbar and East Linton is expected to rise by 9.1 per cent from its current 13,356 to 14,570 in 2026.
Headteacher Paul Raffaelli said: “We are looking forward to welcoming many new pupils to the school as the population of Dunbar burgeons over the next few years.
“We already offer outstanding facilities to pupils and staff. This expansion project will enable us to continue to deliver a great educational experience in state-of-the-art surroundings to all the young people who pass through our doors.
“We are very excited about it.”