Renfrewshire Council

Paisley Grammar School Community Campus pupils entrance

First images revealed for new Paisley Grammar School Community Campus

The first images showing how the new Paisley Grammar School Community Campus will look have been revealed.

The new school is due to be open in summer 2026 and will boast a state-of-the-art set-up for pupils and the wider community, to replace the existing Paisley Grammar School.

What's being built

A planning application for the new building has now been submitted, including images and plans, which show how it has been designed to:

  • Offer outdoor facilities not possible on the current Paisley Grammar site, including 3G all-weather and grass sports pitches, games court, and outdoor learning and social spaces
  • Include a 300-seat theatre, plus modern facilities for practical subjects including fitness suite, dance studio, makers space, teaching kitchens, drama studio and music suites
  • Have separate pupil and public areas, with community facilities such as meeting rooms, flexible learning spaces, and a base for local radio station Quality Radio (formerly Paisley FM)
  • Support a range of ways to learn and teach, with 'learning plazas', including a mix of open spaces for group work, and traditional classrooms
  • Meet high standards for energy-efficiency and building performance to support Renfrewshire's plan for net-zero carbon emissions
  • Be inspired by the heritage of the current Paisley Grammar building - with a main 'internal square' at the heart of the building

The location of the building also allows for a close partnership with the neighbouring West College Scotland campus, with potential to expand the curriculum on offer to pupils.

The community campus is being funded by Renfrewshire Council and Scottish Futures Trust, as part of their nationwide Learning Estate Investment Programme.

It is expected construction will get under way in spring 2024. The school will be able to hold up to 1,350 pupils, well above the current school roll of just over 1,000.

The project's design team is being led by international architects Ryder Architecture, who have delivered new school and educational buildings across the UK and abroad.

They last year led a series of design charettes to capture what pupils, staff and parents wanted from the new school, as well as a series of public consultation events earlier this year at which local residents had the chance to give feedback on the emerging designs.

Where it's going to be

The new campus will be built on vacant land near the town's Renfrew Road, within the site of a wider development to transform transport links in the north of Paisley, which will improve access for pupils.

Safe access to the new school will be delivered by a separate project being delivered by the council to create new road, walking and cycling connections between Paisley town centre and the emerging Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS) at Glasgow Airport. That will include:

  • a new bridge over the White Cart linking Inchinnan Road with Harbour Road, and a new east-west road linking the bridge with Renfrew Road. This will allow pupils from the Shortroods/Mossvale area to reach the new school without going via the town centre ring road. Access to the school will be from the new east-west link
  • new safe walking and cycling routes, including a pedestrian and cycle underpass under Renfrew Road built on the route of a former rail track, linking the new school with the south of Gallowhill and the east of the town

The community campus will be built beside the vacant former Chivas administration building, but this will not be part of the new school. The council is proactively marketing the building to find a new owner and use.

What's been said about it

Councillor Emma Rodden, convener of Renfrewshire Council's Education and Children's Services Policy Board, said: "The current Paisley Grammar School has served the town well for more than a century but is now outdated - the new campus will offer what isn't possible on the current site.

"As you can see from the images revealed today, it will be a 21st-century place of learning, with everything pupils and staff will need - now and in the decades ahead.

"But as a community campus, it will be much more than just a school - it has been designed to allow maximum use of the facilities, during and after the school day, and at weekends and holidays.

"The team behind it have done a huge amount of work to understand what the school and wider community will need, and their feedback has been carefully reflected in the design.

"And with the new road, walking and cycling connections in the area leading to and from the school set to take shape over the next couple of years, access to the site will be safer and much improved."

Chris Malcolm, partner at Ryder, said: "The collaboration and engagement with the project team and stakeholders has been excellent from the start, and has resulted in a design which clearly expresses the collective educational vision for the new Paisley Grammar School Community Campus. The new learning spaces that it will create are going to be sustainable, exciting and inspirational."

Article added: Wednesday 31 May 2023