The Council has awarded a £5.7 million contract to Robertson Northern for a major project that will bring The Highland Council’s administrative and professional staff from different locations across Fort William into the one building, providing a year-on-year revenue saving of around £400,000.
Work will start at the end of April 2016 on the redevelopment of the former Fort William Secondary school site. The project breathes new life into the empty listed building, owned by the local authority, which is set to be transformed into new Council offices to serve not just Fort William but the whole of Lochaber. Space within the new building will be created for other public sector partners in a move to help with revenue costs.
Lochaber Area Leader Councillor MacLennan said: “I am delighted that the contract has been awarded and we can look forward to bringing life back to a gateway building on the A82.
“Not only will the new offices allow us to deliver our services more cost-effectively and efficiently, but this project creates jobs and supports the local economy at a time when other sectors are struggling.
“Providing a modern, flexible, accessible working environment will benefit staff and customers and also allows us to free up more buildings in the town, creating more future development opportunities. I look forward to work starting on site at the end of next month.”
The new offices are expected to be completed by the end of July 2017.
Frank Reid, regional managing director for Robertson Northern said: “This project will be a significant development for the town of Fort William and bring back to life a much loved building close to many people’s hearts.
“Over the course of the development, we are aiming to create a number of local jobs and take on apprentices, ensuring that the redeveloped Achintore Secondary School retains its local heart and continues to serve the community.”
This latest project takes the total spend invested in Fort William over the last five years to over £40 million.
In addition to these investments, the Council has also invested a further £2 million in the purchase of the Blar Mor site to make provision for a new hospital and potentially a new science academy for the West Highland college and has directed and enabled finance of £7.35m for housing association projects in the town over the past 5 years.