WORK has started on a new £9 million school in Gourock.

Builders are on site constructing the replacement St Ninian’s Primary on the old red blaes pitches just off Kirn Drive next to the current building.

Preparation works have been taking place for a fortnight but ground was officially broken yesterday, with the new-build due for completion in a year’s time.

Councillor Jim Clocherty, Inverclyde Council’s education convener, did the honours accompanied by Alastair Wylie from main contractors CCG and Angeline Robertson on behalf of project management company hubWest Scotland.

The local authority is spending £9.2m as part of a £270m investment programme to replace or extensively refurbish every school in the district by 2020.

Mr Clocherty, who is also council depute leader, said: “It’s going to be another fantastic establishment.

“We’re going full steam ahead with our vision to ensure a completely new or refurbished school by 2020 and people throughout Inverclyde can see the benefits of our investment over the last 10 years.

“But these are only buildings and it’s the teachers, head teachers and everybody involved in the internal work in our schools that makes them so successful.”

Bosses from CCG, who are also currently working on the £2m Broomhill community and horticultural centre in Greenock, are delighted to be playing a part in helping to improve education in Inverclyde.

Mr Wylie, the company’s chairman and chief executive, said: “This is not a single contract, we’re also involved in the new Greenock early years centre and Moorfoot Primary.

“It’s fantastic to be involved in an initiative that really supports education in the local area, particularly when we’re talking about primary age and creating the platform to move forward to the higher echelons of education.”

Work started on June 24 and will last 52 weeks, with pupils and staff expected to move into the new St Ninian’s after the 2018 summer holidays.

The new building will have 13 classrooms, a gym, dining hall, music room and a library over its two storeys.

Children will be dropped off at a dedicated lay-by with space for three buses and pedestrian access will be from Staffa Street, Drumshantie Road and Kirn Drive.

Mrs Robertson, partnerships director of hubWest, says the school will be similar in style to that of the £7m replacement St Patrick’s Primary in Greenock, which the company also worked on.

She said: “We are delivering four schools in partnership with Inverclyde Council.

“St Ninian’s follows the design principles of St Patrick’s Primary School and will be completed by main contractor CCG in summer 2018.

“We are delighted that the partnership is producing such high quality facilities for the communities in Inverclyde.”