‘Harris Academy opening was a tremendous occasion’

John Swinney chats with headteacher Barry Millar, headgirl Kirsten Ferrier and headboy Sam Pirrie.
John Swinney chats with headteacher Barry Millar, headgirl Kirsten Ferrier and headboy Sam Pirrie.

Harris Academy was officially opened on Wednesday by Education Secretary John Swinney.

Mr Swinney, the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, was given a tour of some of the facilities at the £31 million new Dundee City Council secondary school.

The facility, which opened for senior pupils in June and opened to all year groups in August, was praised by the MSP.

Other key figures in the Dundee community — and those involved in its construction — celebrated the formal proceedings.

On the visit, which included a musical performance, he spoke to head teacher Barry Millar, headgirl Kirsten Ferrier and headboy Sam Pirrie.

The Deputy First Minister said: “I am very pleased to officially open the new Harris Academy building — I’m sure the new school will be a fantastic environment for pupils to learn in and will provide modern facilities the whole community will enjoy for generations to come.”

Work started on the new school in 2014, following demolition of the previous 1931 building.

Original features, such as the clock tower and the stone entrance portico, have been retained and reused prominently.

The project was led by hub East Central Scotland along with the city council, Scottish Futures Trust and Robertson Tayside.

The city council’s children and families service convener Stewart Hunter described the opening as “a tremendous occasion”.

He continued: “The stunning new school building is designed to meet the educational challenges of the future and be an inspirational learning centre for our young people.

“Harris Academy is a secondary school, which is taking its long tradition into an exciting new future.”

Gary Bushnell, chief executive of hub East Central Scotland, spoke at the opening of the jobs it created for local folk.

He added: “It is great to see pupils and teachers enjoying the new school and its first class facilities.

“Our team worked closely with Dundee City Council to manage the project to successful early completion, delivering a high quality building at best value for the public purse. More than half of the workforce who built the school were local and the project created 21 work placements and 19 apprenticeships in the community.”

West End Councillor Richard McCready said it was a “very positive day”.

He added: “I’m sure that it’s enhanced buildings and facilities will help promote a wider range of learning opportunities for all of its pupils.”