Pupils and assorted representatives marked a key milestone in the construction of the new Anderson High School by attending a “topping out” ceremony.
This morning’s event was organised in order to celebrate the completion of the external structure at both the AHS and its accompanying halls of residence. Roof construction will be finished in the coming weeks before the interior work commences.
Work on the £55 million project officially got underway in August last year, with the school and halls of residence sites forecast to be handed over to the SIC in early September.
On completion, the new four-storey school will accommodate up to 1,180 pupils, while the adjacent halls of residence will house around 100 AHS pupils from Shetland’s outlying communities.
Bedrooms at the halls of residence will be spacious, with room for a bed, desk, television and computer. Each room will also have en suite facilities.
Ethan Arthur, a 13-year-old high school pupil from Skerries and future resident of the new hostel said:
“The building has come on a lot faster than I thought it would.”
He said that he looked forward to staying in the halls, noting that the “bedroom sizes look good.”
Another future resident in attendance was Ythan Shaw, 12, from Fair Isle. He agreed that the prospect of staying in the halls by the end of the year was an exciting one.
SIC representatives included depute convener Cecil Smith, chief executive Mark Boden and education and families committee chairwoman Vaila Wishart.
Angus Macfarlane, chief executive of development partner hub North Scotland and Donald Mclachlan of main contractor Morrison Construction joined the councillors in leading the “topping out” event.
Mr Macfarlane opened proceedings by praising all involved for their hard work in ensuring the project reached this milestone in such a short space of time.
He added: “Progress on both sites is continuing to gather momentum and there is now a real visual element to the construction of the facilities.
“There is a community spirit behind the build, with the relationship between the project partners and the school itself continuing to strengthen as they gain an insight into the school and accompanying accommodation that many will eventually attend.”
Mr Boden was similarly keen to shower praise on all those who worked towards making the building “become real”.
He was delighted to see that in three years the project had gone from being an “unspecified and unfunded aspiration” to nearing completion and sought to thank Shetland’s councillors for their “vision” in bringing the project to fruition.
Cecil Smith said that “the people of Shetland [had] waited a long time for a new Anderson High School.”
He later added: “It has been very satisfying to watch these two buildings rise out of the ground over the past year, and I’d like to pay tribute to the hard work and commitment from all those involved.”