Plans to demolish part of Leverhulme Memorial School have met with strong opposition from the local community.
A special meeting to discuss the issue is to be held a week tonight (Tuesday February 9) in the Leverburgh School gym at 7.30pm.
A ‘Leverhulme Memorial School Steering Group’ has been established, and they will present findings of a feasibility study at the meeting.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar intends to demolish the former primary block (Block 1) of the school.
The council says the demolition is required so that they can create a play area for schoolchildren.
But before this is done, they also plan on refurbishing the other part of the school, known as Block 2.
The total cost of the refurbishment to Block 2 is around £1.4 million, while to demolish Block 1 and create a play area would cost an additional £400,000.
Alan Ross is vice-chair of the Leverhulme Memorial School Steering Group.
He told EVENTS: “We held a meeting in September and views were expressed that people did not want the old Leverhulme building to be knocked down.
“At the moment it houses the Croileagean, the teachers’ staff room, and there is also a music room.
“The Council want to demolish that building so they can create a play area, but we feel there is plenty of room elsewhere within the land owned by the Council to build exactly the same size of play area.
“We have a football pitch and running track that are not in use because nobody has done anything about the geese droppings, which means that the kids are not allowed to use it.
“If Block 1 was surplus to requirements, then the Council could sell it or lease it to the community.
“But they say that it is not surplus to requirements, because it is on a site they want to turn into a play area.”
Mr Ross said that plans for refurbishment of Block 2 still hadn’t been finalised, and this was also causing concern.
“Parents are worried that if there is any kind of delay in refurbishing the new block, it might get left so that nobody does anything,” he said.
“It really is in desperate need of a complete refurbishment.”
Mr Ross said the steering group had visited Cross School, which had been given over to the community after closure.
“They have a historic society and a separate building where they have a charity shop and a laundrette,” he said.
“We could do that in Leverburgh too.”
He added: “Why does the Council want to spend an extra £400,000 in demolishing and flattening a building when they wouldn’t need to spend anything?
“It is a beautifully laid-out building as it is.”
(Pic courtesy of Angus Stan Macleod)