Darroch Annexe Refurbishment

Due to the projected increase of the roll at James Gillespie’s High School and the need to plan more effectively for the future delivery of Gaelic Medium Education, a feasibility study was commissioned in 2018 to refurbish the Darroch Annexe building, 7 Gillespie Street.

The Darroch building dates from 1900 and is a Category C Historic Scotland listed building.  It has served several purposes over the years, including its original operation as a Secondary School, an Education Centre and serving as an annexe for St. Thomas of Aquin’s and James Gillespie’s High Schools.  It was last used during the construction of the new James Gillespie’s High School, serving as temporary decant accommodation.

Design work started on the £10M project and a planning application was submitted October 2019.  The detailed design was completed July 2020, but due to the ongoing disruption to construction caused by the Covid 19 Pandemic, work on site wasn’t able to start until March 2021 and subsequent related delays were also experienced throughout the project.

The refurbishment of Darroch completed October 2022 and the building was handed over ready for the start of the new Half Term after the October break.

The community at James Gillespie’s High School have provided very positive feedback following the first few months of operation.  The Darroch Annexe is currently the base for almost all GME subjects for S1 and S2 GME students. There is also overspill from the main JGHS campus, which consists primarily of Higher and Advanced Higher classes. The Annexe has also been used heavily to facilitate the S4/5/6 prelims allowing for a considerable reduction in displacement disruption on the Main Campus.

  • A classroom with small rectangular desks set up in different sized groups with modern chairs
  • A classroom with comfy upholstered seating around a coffee table, a rectangular work table and benching to the wall
  • two storey open room balcony
  • a two storey open room with circular acoustic baffling suspended from the ceiling creating a colourful design feature
  • A classroom with acoustic hexagons on the wall providing a colourful design feature, a rectangular table with chairs, some wide upholstered seats around a coffee table and benching against the wall with wheelie chairs

Space has been identified for JGHS partners, including Comann na Gàidhlig and Intercultural Youth Scotland, with the Gaelic community in Edinburgh also using it as a venue for cultural events e.g. Fèis Ghàidhlig Dhùn Èideann, Seachdain na Gàidhlig (Gaelic Week), working alongside partners to grow the GME community, with future plans for further events being put in place. 

Young people have enjoyed having additional space – where they once had to sit outside or to have lunch because of capacity – they now have a bright, spacious and comfortable well-equipped canteen area for eating and socialising.   Staff who were uncertain about working within the older Darroch building are very appreciative of the refurbished teaching spaces and creation of staff bases for socialising and working.

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