Work has finally begun on the new Mid Yell Junior High School following a symbolic turf-cutting ceremony on site on Thursday, just one year before its expected completion.
Members of the community gathered with representatives from Danish contractor MT Højgaard and Fiona Smith from Acanthus Architects as chairman of the council’s services committee, Gussie Angus, cut the first turf that will lead to the long-anticipated £8.5 million development.
Mr Angus used a specially-built chrome shovel for the ceremony, which will be inscribed and presented to the school upon its completion.
The ceremony followed a public meeting on Wednesday night to allow residents the chance to hear about the new school’s development.
The school’s go ahead was given earlier this year after Yell councillor Robert Henderson made an impassioned plea for councillors to allow a slightly larger overall design.
That was possible because the new building will comprise a number of modules, or block units, built in Denmark before being shipped across to Shetland for assembly.
He said he had been campaigning for the school ever since he was first elected, and was delighted to see work on the project finally begin. “It’s a tremendous feeling to know it is taking place at last.”
Fellow councillor Laura Baisley said there was strong support in the community to have the new school built. “I don’t have bairns in the school here but I know a lot of parents here have waited a long time for it,” she said.
Project manager Andrew Lyall said: “We’re delighted we have started the building project. It’s been a lot of work and a long time coming, but it is good to have MT Højgaard here.
“It was a great feeling to get the turf cutting ceremony under way. This time next year we will be organising the opening ceremony.”
A spokeswoman from the SIC education department said: “The school service is delighted the project has got to this stage. We look forward to progressing to it opening in October 2010.”