Ever since the high school moved into new premises across the road Scottish Borders Council has been looking at moving the primary school into the vacant premises as its current building is no longer big enough, and this week plans were submitted for the changes needed at the old high school building to make it suitable for primary school pupils.
Extensive consultations took place last year about the £7 million move for both Duns Primary School pupils and pupils using the specialist support unit, which will replace units at Coldstream and Chirnside, and work is due to start in this financial year.
The former high school building has been empty since 2009 and in the plans to demolish part of the building and alter the rest of it the council acknowledges that “the building has suffered from significant fabric degradation since its closure and this will require to be arrested as part of the overall scheme of redevelopment”.
The former high school is bigger than the primary school needs and with pressures to keep within budget it was decided to preserve as much of the original building as possible and demolish the wings at the north end of the building including part of the original 1950s structure. Initial plans also included demolition of the old janitor’s house but this is not now part of the latest plans.
In their design brief, architects Aitken Turnbull say: “Although it is unfortunate that some of the original structure will be lost, it is considered that this is justified in order to preserve the main part of the building and the imposing south facing frontage on Langtongate.”
The plans form part of a site wide ‘campus’ development incorporating the swimming pool, along with Duns Rugby Club in the former high school gym, and Duns Football Club in the former games hall.
Vehicular access will remain as it is and there are plans to resurface the area where the existing building is to be demolished in front of the former technical block at the rear of the building.
The 91 parking spaces and nine disabled bays will be shared by all users.