New designs show £11m school will be a class act

An artist's impression of the proposed new St John's RC Primary Schoo, at Portobello. Picture: contributed

An artist's impression of the proposed new St John's RC Primary Schoo, at Portobello. Picture: contributed

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NEW images have been released revealing how an 
£11 million replacement campus for a city school will look.

The designs show the exterior, grounds and internal spaces proposed for the new St John’s Primary, Portobello, giving pupils and parents an advance taste of life at the school.

It will open up amazing learning opportunities for our children

BARBARA SERVICE

Education bosses said maximising play and outdoor activity opportunities for youngsters had been a key consideration when drawing up blueprints.

The new St John’s will be built on part of the existing Portobello High site in Duddingston Road.

Among its planned features are bespoke outdoor teaching areas, wigwams, a dedicated “story hut”, a sports pitch, orchards and a timber playpole “forest”.

The building will also feature two-storey-high window sections aimed at ensuring as much light is let in as possible.

Drop-in information sessions have already been held for local families ahead of the submission of a full planning application.

Teachers said there was mounting excitement at the prospect of the development proceeding.

Barbara Service, principal at St John’s, said: “Everyone at the school is really looking forward to the school opening as it will open up amazing learning opportunities for our children.

“The new facility will create a wonderful educational environment and we’re also going to get a new playground with plenty of space for the children.

“The architects have been fantastic and taken on board the suggestions from both the pupils on ideas for the new playground and the nursery team for the nursery.

“I’ve also visited other new schools to get ideas for what we would like to see in ours.”

City chiefs also welcomed publication of the designs, which were produced by Holmes Miller Architects.

Councillor Paul Godzik, education leader, said: “I am sure pupils, staff and the local community are excited at seeing these proposed images of the new buildings and playground.

“Everyone is now really looking forward to seeing these images turned into reality for what promises to be a fantastic school.”

The current Portobello High site is also due to be transformed into a £1m park situated next to the new St John’s campus. Work on the green space – which will take place once the current high school has been bulldozed – is set to start in summer 2018.

As well as helping to choose the design, residents have been voting on whether the park should be called St John’s or Treverlen – the original name for Duddingston, meaning “settlement by the lake of reeds”.

The new, £41m Portobello High – which is nearing completion at Portobello Park following years of delays – is expected to take its first pupils at the start of 2017, with the old building then scheduled for demolition.

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com