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Last Updated: Monday, 30 April 2007, 23:11 GMT 00:11 UK
100m school plans make progress
Stranraer Academy
Stranraer Academy will be upgraded as part of the plans
A preferred bidder has been announced for a 100m project to build nine new schools in Dumfries and Galloway.

The Education for Dumfries and Galloway (E4D&G) consortium, led by Amey and Cyril Sweett, will take on the project subject to Scottish Executive approval.

A council statement greeted the move as a "major milestone" for regeneration across the region.

It is hoped work on the public private partnership (PPP) scheme can get under way later this year.

Primary schools in Castle Douglas, Heathhall, Kirkcudbright, Lockerbie and Thornhill, as well as a Dumfries RC school, are part of the plans.

Secondaries in Thornhill and Lockerbie and an "all through" primary and secondary in Moffat are included in the project.

Highest standard

It will also see the extension and refurbishment of Stranraer Academy.

Amey chief executive Mel Ewell said: "E4D&G are delighted to have been announced as preferred bidder on the Smarter Schools Project.

"We will work together as a team to regenerate the schools in Dumfries and Galloway to the highest possible standard, offering state of the art facilitates to both pupils and teachers alike."

Construction is scheduled to start in October 2007.

The first new school to be opened is expected to be completed in the summer of 2009.

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