It was the end of an era yesterday as pupils and staff left Forfar Academy’s Taylor Street building for the final time.
After 52 years, pupils and staff are moving from the current school to the town’s £39 million state-of-the-art community campus.
With the addition of two extra days to coincide with the February mid-term break to accommodate the move, Forfar youngsters are now off for a full week.
The new school within the community campus, built on former playing fields on the north of the existing academy site, will be open to greet pupils on the morning of Thursday February 16.
Staff that were previously pupils also spent the afternoon taking one final look around the Taylor Street building before the bell sounded for the final time.
There were a few tears from pupils during the last ‘home time’ from the old school but also a general feeling of excitement at what lies ahead next week.
Head teacher Melvyn Lynch said: “It’s very much a case of mixed emotions.
“It’s not nostalgia – there are just a lot of happy memories of the existing building and it was nice to take a walk down memory lane today.
“There are some staff we have here who were also pupils here and have effectively spent their lives here.
“We’ve also had various former pupils and teachers contacting us to share their memories of the old building.”
Mr Lynch said there were a few tears shed but a genuine sense of real excitement from pupils at the prospect of moving into the new campus.
“Some of our pupils who are ambassadors for the new campus went to visit it this afternoon and they came back absolutely raving about it,” he said.
“We made a conscious effort not to make a big deal of today and keep it business as usual.
“It was one of the quietest days I can remember and although there were a few tears shed there was a real feel-good factor at the busses tonight.
“Everyone is very much excited at what lies ahead and looking forward to moving into this new era together.”
Mr Lynch said the only thing that brings life into a school are the pupils and the people who work there.
Our staff who are former pupils enjoying our last day in the Taylor St building! pic.twitter.com/l4dM0gIPne
— Forfar Academy (@ForAcad) February 8, 2017
He hailed the efforts of staff who have been preparing for the move by having a daily clear-out to avoid a last minute rush with pupils helping pack boxes at lunchtimes.
Skips have also been delivered every other week to take away the rubbish while colleagues from other schools also volunteered to help with the move of equipment.
The new Forfar campus, being developed by the council in partnership with East Central Territory hubco, will incorporate the new academy and replacement leisure facilities for Lochside leisure centre and the swimming pool at The Vennel.
Enhanced community facilities including a performance space and accommodation for adult learning and youth activities are also being delivered.
Forfar Academy moved to its Taylor Street site on the north-west outskirts of the town in 1965.
The building was opened by the Queen Mother, who had strong links with the town, having been born a few miles away at Glamis Castle.
The new premises replaced the old school building in Academy Street.