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Kier has been appointed by the City of Edinburgh Council to deliver the £65m new Passivhaus Currie Community High School. The new build secondary school will provide 1,000 student places, with three floors of teaching blocks, sports and leisure facilities, a swimming pool, and a café.

Currie Community High School will be one of the first high schools in Scotland to be built to the Passivhaus standard, reducing the building’s total energy usage up to 70% compared to a traditional build school and making it more cost effective to run.

To adhere to Passivhaus, the building will have better air quality, advanced insulation and greater airtightness. The Passivhaus standard aligns to the council’s net zero commitments that all new build and refurbishment projects should be sustainable.

Encouraging interaction between pupils and the local community, there will also be a community hub, outdoor informal play spaces, a sensory garden, and public allotments.

This morning, a ground-breaking ceremony was held on site, which saw Shirley-Anne Somerville, Cabinet Secretary for Education, along with representatives from the Council, Scottish Futures Trust, the school and Kier in attendance.

The project has been procured through the Crown Commercial Services framework and is one of the projects in the first phase of the Scottish Government’s Learning Estates Investment Programme.

Phil McDowell, regional director for Kier Construction North & Scotland said:

“This is a really unique project, which not only creates an outstanding new school, but also aligns to the Council’s net zero targets. Everything about the new school has been designed with the focus of minimising energy usage and creating a healthy environment for generations to come.

“We’re proud to continue our successful relationship with the City of Edinburgh Council to deliver this fantastic new facility for the community of Currie.”

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“This new school will provide an inspiring learning environment for around 1,000 pupils and will benefit generations to come.

“It has been a privilege for me to break the ground here today on this fantastic addition to the area and to hear what a difference this completed project will make to pupils and the wider community.

“The project will be completed using support from the first phase of the £2 billion Learning Estate Investment Programme (LEIP), which is managed by the Scottish Futures Trust and will benefit tens of thousands of pupils across Scotland.”

Councillor Joan Griffiths said:

“These are exciting times for the Currie school community as there are so many innovative elements to the plans which has energy efficiency at its centre. This will make the new campus one of the first high schools in Scotland to meet Passivhaus standards and supports Edinburgh’s aim of net zero emissions by 2030.

The new school will provide a first-class learning setting and be an exciting, inspirational and creative hub for the whole community which will meet both future educational and environmental needs. I’m delighted to see such a strong emphasis on outdoor learning with the creation of a special terrace and how the outdoor spaces will promote sustainability for the school and local community.”

Jenny Smith, Currie Community High School Head Teacher, said:

“It was great to be at the event this morning as everyone can now see the construction taking place on the site of the new school. We’re so incredibly excited about what our new school has to offer as a learning and community campus with an amazing energy around curriculum development and how we ensure that young people develop the skills to be 21st century ready.

“As one of the first Passivhaus schools in Scotland, we are committed to energy efficiency for the benefits of our young people and community.  The opportunities for intergenerational learning are endless with transformational learning spaces both inside the building and out.”

Faithful+Gould was appointed to provide Project Management and full Multi-Disciplinary Design Team services to The City of Edinburgh Council.

Stewart Macleod, Managing Director – Scotland & Ireland, Faithful+Gould said:

“We are thrilled to see the new Currie Community High School start on site. It is a project which will deliver an outstanding education facility and inspiring environment for its pupils and the wider community.

We are looking forward to working with City of Edinburgh Council and the wider project team to deliver their net zero ambitions whilst creating a more sustainable environment.”

Architype was appointed as Architect, Passivhaus Designer, Interior Designer and Client’s Information Manager.

Ann-Marie Fallon Associate Director – Architype said:

“Currie Community High School is an exciting and innovative Passivhaus ultra low carbon school. As importantly, the school will offer beautiful, light filled and healthy learning places and become a vibrant community hub with outstanding health and fitness facilities and a Passivhaus swimming pool.”

The project will be divided into two phases with an overall completion expected in early 2025.

This project builds on Kier’s wealth of experience in delivering Passivhaus schemes in the UK and includes the award winning St Sidwell’s Point Leisure Centre and St Loyes Extra Care, in Exeter.