Plans to refurbish the former St James’ Primary in Calton have been given the go ahead, paving the way for the opening of Glasgow’s fourth Gaelic school.

Council planners have now approved the city education department’s bid to revamp — and extend — the B-listed Green Street building.

It is expected to be completed by December next year and open in January 2026. Pupils are currently being taught at North Kelvinside Primary.

Permission was previously granted to demolish part of the “derelict” school. The revamp of the remaining building presents “a vital lifeline for one of Calton’s most significant heritage assets”, the plans stated.

Under the scheme, the former primary school, which has been empty since 2009, will become part of Bun-sgoil Ghàidhlig a’ Challtainn — Calton Gaelic Primary School.

There will be 12 classrooms and two general purpose rooms, reusing the original classroom spaces. A multi-use games area will be provided too.

The project also includes an extension, to be built on what was the original playground. It will have an assembly hall, kitchen and a drama and performance classroom.

It was reported in September last year that the council would have to spend up to £11.6 million on the project, up from an initial estimate of £8.25 million, due to the building being in a worse condition and inflation.

Overall, the school is expected to cost £22.8 million, with funding also being provided by the Scottish Government.

Plans submitted by education services stated the school is “in a derelict state” and will “require substantial renovation work.”

“With St James’ fulfilling the requirements for Glasgow’s fourth Gaelic medium school, the project presents a vital lifeline for one of Calton’s most significant heritage assets and may play a part in energising regeneration of other historic assets in the area,” they added.

The new Gaelic school would join Glendale Primary School in the south and Govan Gaelic Primary School and Glasgow Gaelic School in the west.

Calton Community Council supported the proposal as it will “see the historic building reused in a sensitive and appropriate manner.”

No off-street parking is included in the plan. There will be four accessible spaces, two accessible drop-off bays and one bus bay. Parking for 89 bikes will be provided.

Planners reported the proposal would “salvage a substantial listed building which is one of the remaining pieces of cultural heritage of the Calton area and would make use of a prominent brownfield site that had fallen into significant disrepair.”

Previous plans for demolition covered toilet extensions and a section to the rear of the school building. Emergency works had already been carried out to the roof to “avoid uncontrolled collapse and halt further distress to the building.”

The school, built in 1885, was used until 2009 when remaining pupils were moved to Alexandra Parade Primary.

Source: STV News

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