Keppie designed Kirkwall Grammar officially opened by Alex Salmond

The new Kirkwall Grammar School in Orkney has been officially opened by the Scottish Government’s First Minister, Alex Salmond.

Designed by Keppie and built by Morrison Construction as part of Orkney’s £58million Schools Investment Programme, Kirkwall Grammar can accommodate 900 secondary school pupils and provides teaching and learning spaces in support of Scotland’s ‘Curriculum for Excellence’.

The new school, which extends to 16,000 sq m and achieves an ‘Excellent’ BREEAM rating, features an open street running through the centre creating a series of flexible teaching and social spaces, providing access to separate teaching wings. The provision of flexible learning zones that promote a variety of learning and teaching styles is complemented by external spaces that have been designed to integrate with the building design. Following a review by HM Inspectors from Education Scotland, the new school building has been described as ‘outstanding’.

Peter Moran, director at Keppie Design, which also provided landscape, planning and interior design services for the project, commented:

“We wanted to ensure the design demonstrates a considered approach to the local climate. The materials chosen for the building were selected to compliment the local vernacular and to withstand the Orkney climate.”

Speaking at the official opening of the school and its associated halls of residence, Papdale, which Keppie also designed, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond said:

“I’m absolutely delighted to join Orkney Islands Council and the pupils of Kirkwall Grammar School to officially open their new school buildings. I’ve been able to see for myself the high standard of the new buildings, and this has been recently echoed by inspectors as being ‘outstanding’.

“Young people from Orkney and nearby islands will be able to develop their skills in top rate educational facilities, including a fantastic new theatre, hair dressing salon, state of the art classrooms and an abundance of social space for the young people.”

Kirkwall Grammar School head teacher Sheila Dick added:

“We are delighted with the new school. The whole school community has been lifted by the building which is light, airy and spacious. Break out spaces, double classrooms, a superb theatre and outstanding PE facilities are just some of the features that make Kirkwall Grammar School a superb learning and teaching environment. The foresight of the Scottish Government and Orkney Islands Council in funding this wonderful building is to be commended.”