State of the art facilities in two of Dundee’s secondary schools could be opened to the public as part of a trial to develop schools as “community hubs”.
This will be the first trial of using schools for wider community activities in the city, similar to St John’s RC Academy in Perth, Brechin High School in Angus and Wade Academy in Fife.
The policy and resources committee will be asked this Monday to approve community hubs in Kirkton, which would see Baldragon Academy and St Paul’s Academy open their doors for more use by the public, with St Paul’s including library services.
Education, advice, information, support, guidance, sport and leisure, prevention/early intervention services and community activities would all also be provided from the new locations.
A trial would begin early next year, following consultation and set up periods, replacing activities at the Kirkton Community Centre and library.
A community library would be provided at St Paul’s and opening hours across the hub locations for activities would be more flexible than the current arrangements at the community centre.
St Paul’s could make use of its fabric room, three workshops, swimming pool, gym, dance studio, games hall and others.
St Paul’s also contains an astroturf pitch and two grass pitches, as well as a large playground.
Baldragon also has a swimming pool, music and band rooms, IT facilities and conference rooms, and other services currently available at the school.
Council leader John Alexander said: “This area contains superb modern amenities in two secondary schools that could be used much more by people to access services and activities.
“The question isn’t about a building but rather, how we provide the best quality facilities to the wider community. When we have state of the art facilities not being used to their full potential, it’s right to consider newer community campus models.
“There is the potential for this trial to provide better facilities, to a larger population and with more flexible opening hours. For example, the current community centre does not operate at weekends and I’m sure that weekend openings are something that the community would want to see during this trial.
“Already, these two schools are the focus of community activities and contain first-class spaces that are much more appropriate.
“Of course, consultation and engagement are hugely important on how the hubs are developed and during the time we trial these new ideas. No decision will be made on the existing centre while this is trialled.
“This is a bold and ambitious idea to provide quality services from quality facilities. We have also looked at the success of the Forfar Community Campus and other examples to see the benefits that these new school can bring for the wider community.
“I must emphasise that this is a trial that is being proposed and will help us to focus on how we might take forward the community hubs concept.”