The new Portobello High School was officially opened by the Lord Provost of Edinburgh Donald Wilson today
Over 100 guests were welcomed to the school with performances by various school bands such as samba, jazz and ceilidh along with dances and speeches before the Lord Provost officially unveiled the commemorative plaque.
The new school is the Council’s largest secondary with space for up to 1,400 pupils and opened its doors to students for the first time on 26 October. It has state-of-the-art teaching facilities and both indoor and outdoor sports facilities; including a swimming pool and two all weather pitches. The local community is also benefitting from the new facilities which can be used outside school hours.
In addition, a planning application for a new £1million park on the site of the old High School building will be submitted early next year. When delivered, the new park will surround the new St John’s RC Primary School which is due to be completed in 2018.
Lord Provost Donald Wilson said: “I’m delighted to have opened the new Portobello High School as the school community has been waiting a long time for this day to arrive. As Edinburgh’s largest secondary school, it will benefit many generations of pupils in the Portobello area.
“Building a school in a park was never an easy decision but our commitment to opening up the new facilities to the wider local community and the partnerships in place with local sports clubs will lead to more young people in this area participating in sport.”
Ruth Mckay, Head Teacher, said: “Pupils, parents and staff are delighted with their new school and have enjoyed their first few weeks in the building. The light, bright, airy feel of the building gives us a great environment for learning and we are relishing making use of our new digital technology.
“The fact that our new building has been so long-awaited has only increased the sense of excitement in the school community. We would like to thank all those who have contributed over a number of years to the delivery of what is a superb resource for the Portobello community and for future generations.”
Councillor Cammy Day, Education Convener, said: “I was fortunate to tour the school on the first day it opened and was immediately struck by the fantastic teaching facilities available to the pupils. The Capital Coalition is committed to providing schools of excellence and this building is a fine example of what can be achieved, particularly when the school community is given the opportunity from the start to identify what their needs are.
“From the early days of the strategic design brief through to the finished building we have worked with Portobello’s staff to bring their vision to life – something everyone associated with the project can be immensely proud of.”
Hector Macaulay, Balfour Beatty Regional Managing Director, Scotland, said: “We’re especially proud to have worked in close collaboration with the Council, teachers and pupils to deliver these state of the art facilities for the students and community of Portobello, with an accident-free safety record throughout. The quality of the finished build is exceptional, and provides a positive and inspiring learning environment for the students to perform to their full potential.
“The sustainable design optimises natural daylight and ventilation, enabling considerable savings to be made in the future operation of the school. Furthermore, the project has supported 35 individuals to get into a career in construction, 18 opportunities for people previously unemployed and a number of educational events, supporting our broader efforts across Scotland to encourage youngsters to consider a career in engineering.”
The new school was given the go ahead after the City of Edinburgh Council successfully took a Private Bill through the Scottish Parliament which changed the status of Portobello Park allowing it to be appropriated for educational purposes.