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Last Updated: Monday, 8 October 2007, 23:31 GMT 00:31 UK
Deal sealed for six new schools
An artist's impression of the Aberfeldy campus
An artist's impression of the Aberfeldy campus
Contracts have been signed for a massive school building programme in Perth and Kinross.

Private consortium Axiom Education will provide six new schools and community facilities, as part of a 136m agreement.

The move means construction work can start later this month, with the first campus scheduled to open in 2009.

The 30-year deal is the biggest private finance project undertaken by Perth and Kinross Council.

The local authority said all six schools should be ready by 2011, and would provide education for more than a quarter of the area's pupils.

If you give people a brand new community facility with the state-of-the-art facilities it raises hopes [and] expectations
Linda Swan, Breadalbane Academy

As well as classrooms, they will feature community facilities such as libraries, dance and drama studios, all-weather sports pitches and meeting halls.

Perth and Kinross Council leader Ian Miller said it was an important day for the council and local communities.

He said: "The Investment in Learning Programme can move forward and make the council's vision of excellent education and lifelong learning for all its residents a reality.

"Axiom Education will shortly begin the construction phase of the programme - the six new schools and associated community facilities will be built and fitted out over the next three years with the joint campus at Blairgowrie planned to be the first to open, which should be early in 2009."

Aberfeldy - replacing Breadalbane Academy
Blairgowrie - replacing Hill Primary School and St Stephen's Primary School
Crieff - replacing Crieff High School
Kinross - replacing Kinross High School
Perth - replacing St Columba's High School and St John's Primary School
Perth South - replacing Caledonian Road Primary School and Friarton Nursery
All primary schools being built will have nursery services

Three of the campuses will be heated by biomass boilers, which will use locally-sourced wood chip pellets and create about 24 new jobs.

The schools will also make use of other environmentally-friendly technologies, such as underfloor heating and low energy lights.

Construction work will initially start at Breadalbane Academy.

Head teacher Linda Swan said the concept of a new campus for Aberfeldy was very exciting for the whole community.

She said: "I think the new building will foster a new feeling of confidence and hope in the area.

"If you give people a brand new community facility with the state-of-the-art facilities it raises hopes, expectations and opportunities.

"I believe the new school will encourage people to want to live and work in the area, so it could also give the local economy a boost."

Axiom Education has designed the six learning campuses, and will build, operate and maintain them for 30 years.

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