Hillside School to get an extension already

Hillside School, Portlethen, which will now get an extension to cope with the growing school numbers.
Hillside School, Portlethen, which will now get an extension to cope with the growing school numbers.

A Portlethen school, which only opened in the spring of 2017, is to get an additional four new classrooms to bolster its capacity.

The £12 million Hillside School can currently accommodate 350 pupils, but is already facing mounting pressure thanks to significant new housing developments in the area including Chapleton.

Plans submitted by Aberdeenshire Council also feature a new GP room at the Newlands Road school.

Councillors from the authority’s Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee were concerned to hear that the school roll was forecast to reach 455 this year and a staggering 612 in 2022.

They were told that officers were “exploring options to address the capacity pressures” facing Hillside School resulting from the large number of children already living within the catchment area.

That prompted immediate calls from local members for the authority to investigate the possibility of extending the school.

In March this year, the committee also asked that consideration be given to including accessible changing facilities for the whole community.

However, that option was discounted after officers said the additional cost was prohibitive and would result in a loss of playground space.

Commenting on the development, Councillor Ian Mollison said: “The need for a future extension was incorporated into the design of the school, but I didn’t think we would need it so quickly. The core facilities can cope with the dramatic increase in pupil numbers.

“There will be some disruption while the work takes place, however I am assured it will be kept to a minimum. Safety will of course be first and foremost.

“It’s a great school with dedicated staff and enthusiastic pupils. This facility should make them proud.”