DISTINGUISHED guests gathered at one of the area's newest schools for the official opening of the �27 million facility.

The new Clydeview Academy secondary was officially opened on Thursday with help from the area's MP Iain McKenzie, who was involved in planning the new school in his former role as Inverclyde Council's education convener.

Clydeview was formed by the amalgamation of Greenock Academy and Gourock High School and has been built on the former St Columba's site in Gourock.

Mr McKenzie says the school can now look forward to a bright future of developing its own identity and becoming a top educational institution.

He said: "It can be no easy task bringing together two schools with their own proud traditions and histories.

"But everyone has embraced the challenge and anticipated the exciting prospect of founding and creating a new school - developing its own identity and laying the foundations of what I am sure will be a long and proud history of educational excellence." He added that the school, as well as having top-of-the-range facilities, also has some of the best views in the country. Mr McKenzie said: "I had the privilege of being involved in the planning and decision making that has led to the completion of this modern, state-of-the-art school boasting facilities that are second to none and commanding views of the Clyde that are some of the most spectacular in all of Inverclyde, if not the whole of Scotland." Clydeview Academy boasts top quality classrooms, a library, theatre and science and technology facilities.

The school has one full-size 2G all-weather pitch suitable for hockey and football, a grass pitch suitable for rugby and football and a multi-use games area.

Its opening marks the completion of Inverclyde's �78 million PPP programme that has delivered two new primary schools and two secondary schools for the area.

Councillor Terry Loughran, education and lifelong learning convener, said: "I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in the conception, design, construction and delivery of this incredible facility.

"There are so many people who deserve our thanks and they are responsible for giving the pupils of, Clydeview a school they can be proud of and the chance to grasp every opportunity to fulfil their potential and become informed, educated and responsible citizens."