Oban is set to benefit from a brand new High School. The project is a significant investment in the town and its young people. The £32m project will be taken forward by Argyll and Bute Council in partnership with hub North Scotland Ltd and the Scottish Futures Trust through the Scottish Government's Schools for the Future programme.
The new Oban High School will be built on the existing school site with improved links to the north east at Dalintart/Glencruitten. This is land already owned by the council and the site was selected following a public consultation in November 2013. The site provides enough space for a good quality new school building and associated facilities such as formal and informal play space, pupil and bus drop-off and parking. The Dun, An Dunan, monument which lies on the site will not be affected.
Following a pre-application consultation (PAC) that concluded in January 2015, the planning application for the new Oban High School has been submitted and validated on 28th April 2015. The planning application reference number is 15/00932/PP and there will be more information on the planning section of the council's website.
The application for the school must first be considered by the council’s Planning, Protective Services and Licensing Committee (PPSL). We expect that this will happen in the next two to three months.
If the application is approved, we expect that construction will start towards the end of 2015, with the school being completed around August 2017.
We will keep you informed about progress and other arrangements that you need to know about through regular newsletters and updates here.
In the meantime below are answers to some of the questions you may have about the new Oban High School.
Why is the site for the new Oban High school at the existing school site and land at Dalintart?
Following a detailed analysis of five sites in the Oban area and a public consultation, in January 2014 it was agreed that the new school should be built on the existing site and land at Dalintart. This site was deemed the most suitable available due to factors such as:
the land available being in council ownership,
access for pupils, staff and the community,
existing transport links; and
the use of other facilities within the town currently used by the school.
Why is the school not located on the outskirts of Oban, where there is plenty of land?
Sites outside the town were considered but were deemed not suitable to be progressed as the site for the new school for a variety of reasons – poor ground conditions, land not in council ownership, transport difficulties including access for pedestrians, and increased distances for the community to access the new school facilities.
Does the council own all the land to build upon?
Yes. All the land required for the new school and associated playing fields is in council ownership.
Will the school be fully operational during the construction of the new school?
Yes. All works will happen to the south of the school and be accessed independently, so the school will function as normal during the works.
When will the school be finished?
The target completion date for the school is August 2017 in order to have the new school operational for the 2017/18 school year.
What is going to happen to the hill An Dunan which is scheduled as an ancient monument?
There will be no works that will affect the monument and it is considered that the new school will enhance its setting.
Is this school being built to a bigger capacity?
Yes, the school is being built to a design capacity of 1,300 pupils.
Is the proposed Oban Development Road (ODR) part of this project?
The ODR is not part of this school redevelopment project, but the preliminary route of the ODR has been taken into account in the development of the proposed site layout for the new Oban High school.
Is Glencruitten Hostel going to be rebuilt as part of this project?
The hostel is not part of this project. The funding package agreed with the Scottish Government is for a new secondary school.
Will the new school increase traffic congestion?
The current traffic proposal is to change the road access to the new school. Further discussions will take place between the council's roads department and hubNorth who are delivering the school for the council. Further investigations will take place and will form part of the traffic assessment included as part of the planning process.
Will the existing rugby and football pitched at Glencruitten be affected?
No, the existing main grass rugby and football pitches will not be affected and will be available during the course of the works.
Will there be a pedestrian crossing on Soroba Road for pupils going to the shops at lunchtime?
It is proposed that the current pedestrian crossing will be retained. It is hoped that the enhanced facilities in the school will encourage more pupils to remain on site during the school intervals.
Have we consulted with pupils, staff and parents?
Yes. There have been regular meetings with a Schools Champions Group of pupils, staff and parents.
How much is it going to cost?
The total capital cost for the school is approximately £32M.
Is all the funding in place?
The council has agreed to make provision of its share of the estimated cost of the new school, augmented by funding support from the Scottish Government.
Will public access to Oban High School’s community facilities be affected during the construction period?
Although the school will be built on the existing grass pitch at the school, all other current facilities will be available to the community. Once the new school has opened, the enhanced facilities in the new school will be available for community use.
Will the existing 3G pitch at the school be closed during the building of the school?
It is the intention to have a 3G pitch available during the construction period. At some point in time, the existing 3G pitch will be resurfaced with a new 3G surface as part of the project.