Monday, 5 February 2018

The new school in Largs

There's one big, huge, massive, concrete block of a story happening in Largs at the moment.

If you know the town you'll know about the rumbling (literally) of all the work that has gone into building a new campus, to bring together all our schools with brand new facilities. It's part of a programme of new school building across Scotland.

It started with some consultation (not enough apparently, but there's never enough consultation) and then the plans were put together, and models shown in the library, where everyone I know was told that the thing they were concerned about wasn't a worry, even when it seemed that actually it might be.

Anyway, the building site started off pretty modest:


Look! You can still see the hills and greenery! It's supposed to end up looking like this:

This is a mockup photo pinched from the Urban Realm website, have a look here.
The primary schools are moving in in March, the secondary in April. I don't know when exactly the nurseries and the around school care people are moving in, but it is now apparently built and being finished off.

It doesn't look like the mockup.

It looks like a weird lego creation which has had flour paste poured over it. Where Bob the Builder's friends are having a party behind some boards. 

There weren't many vehicles to start off with but getting to school has become progressively more like some weird modern version of Paperboy as big yellow vehicles and lorries compete with white vans and grubby men in hi-vis outfits wandering into the road. A road with shuttle buses, school buses, lots of parents, bicycles, pedestrians, AND the depot for the bin lorries. It's deeply unpleasant, and I can't wait until they're done (although there is a rumour that they're only making it so bad now so it will feel better when it's just horribly snarled up with four schools worth of cars), and they've fixed the holes in the road (although North Ayrshire does seem fond of holes in the road. 

On the other hand, it's created lots of jobs (check out this article in our local paper for more on that), and no doubt there will be plenty more work in whatever is built on the old school sites (more on that below).

People who live near to the new school are voicing concerns about the size of the primary playground (absolutely tiny), and the school traffic. They're being very good about losing their view of the hills.

Hamish pictured by me in the infants' library.
She's a really lovely cat.
People who live near the old schools are voicing concerns about what's going to replace them. Certainly, the local authority isn't keeping them around. The primary school my girls are in is scheduled for demolition in April. The girls are worried that Hamish the school cat will get hurt, but I'm sure her owner will lock her up and the demolition people will check the school for her. She probably won't want to hang out there while there aren't cute kids to fuss her.

There are already plans for lots of housing (which is really needed in the town) plus amenities for older people and people with disabilities in place of two of the old schools (smashing article on it here). We're not sure what will happen to the others yet (I don't think). 

As well as all this activity in the back of town, Largs has been getting her glad rags on down the front. Apparently the prom has been done (sorry, I missed that one - I'm always too busy staring out at the view - see below).


And work is underway on Gallowgate Square to make it a more useful space, perhaps for live events or for a farmers market. Tbh a farmers market in the town would make me very happy!

So it's all change around here, but I'm looking forward to the kids getting new facilities and making new friends as the primaries come together. Hopefully they'll get to do activities with the kids in the other primary that's still separate, but soon to be next door, because what we need is for kids to come together. 

And the thing my kids are most excited about? The dining plaza, partly because it's called a plaza, and partly because it's over two floors... I think they've got visions of High School Musical - Scotland style!