Back to school at new Dumbarton Academy

19 Aug 2013

Excited pupils enjoyed their first day at the £15.5m Dumbarton Academy building in state-of-the art facilities that are amongst the best in Scotland.

The school welcomed approximately 700 pupils into 57 bright modern classrooms on a campus measuring 10,518m2 - large enough to fit 447 double decker buses.

Head Teacher, Jacqui Lynam, greeted new and existing pupils in the modern assembly hall, which will also be used as a theatre.  The hall has been fitted with specially designed control booths to manage sound and lighting.

Jacqui, who has been in charge of the school for 2 years, said: "This is a very exciting time for Dumbarton Academy pupils and staff.  I am delighted with the design and quality of workmanship in the new school. Staff and pupils now have a school that is state of the art and a school that they deserve.  For so long they have been working and learning in a building that was no longer fit for purpose.

"Throughout the academic session staff will make full use of the school building and the facilities available to enhance the learning environment for our young people.  The feedback from staff has been extremely positive, and they have started the new term with added enthusiasm and high aspirations. I have always been proud to be Headteacher of this school, but the new building makes that even more so and I am really looking forward to the year ahead."

Part of the school will be used for vocational classes, which are an essential part of Curriculum for Excellence. Pupils will benefit from having a hairdressing studio and construction area on site which will prevent pupils travelling to college to learn these skills.

Classrooms are brightly decorated and designed to meet every requirement of modern teaching with open-plan study areas, study booths for individuals and a modern library equipped with a selection of educational material.

BAM Construction used twin wall precast concrete to build the school instead of steel and brick. As well as increasing the quality of the structure this has also saved time and enabled the school to be built in just 62 weeks - the quickest secondary school ever built in Scotland.

Jim Ward, BAM Construction Director, said: "We worked really hard to ensure the job was completed for the start of the new term. We started the work in June last year and today we see the pupils  are in their classrooms ready to start the new term. This is a great achievement by our design team and supply chain  and also the partnership with West Dunbartonshire Council.

"The school is also on target for a BREEAM Excellent Award for good use of  energy saving measures such as solar panels - a real feat for Dumbarton Academy.

"The normal turn around for a school is about 80 weeks and today, we welcome the pupils to their new school 62 weeks later, making Dumbarton Academy the quickest built secondary school in Scotland."

The building is environmentally responsible and energy efficient which also includes a number of renewable technologies such as photo voltaic cells, solar/thermal hot water heating and a biomass boiler"

Once complete the site will also include a 'Walk of Life' timeline of the school's history etched into the path leading to the entrance; a fitness trail around the playground featuring outdoor gym equipment; a music garden outdoor performance area with seating for 30-40 people, and a school garden offering outdoor dining areas. There will also be two flood-lit all-weather pitches, a grass pitch and a 100m running track.


  • Dumbarton Academy