Park will wrap around school
THE new Barrhead High School will be built on neighbouring Cowan Park, early plans have confirmed.
The £22 million facility may be built near the bandstand, which would either need to be removed or replaced.
Should the proposals be agreed, the land the existing school sits on would be turned into new park space.
Barrhead councillor Tommy Reilly, pictured right, said:"Things are at an early stage so far, however, there is a great opportunity here to have a great new school and have some major spin-off benefits for the park and the community, giving everyone better value for money and gaining extra, well-used facilities.
"I have stopped thinking of a traditional school building with railings and loads of wasted space within those railings.
"Instead we should think of the park flowing around the school and sharing the various facilities for both school and community use where possible.
"I like the idea of a large car park, which would allow major events to be held at the park."
Cowan Park has not held a major event for several years, with the nearby Rouken Glen Park in Eastwood holding a monopoly on events such as Highland Games.
"Rouken Glen is a lovely park, but Cowan Park has so much potential," added Councillor Reilly.
"I would encourage people to take a positive approach to any consultation and also to think about joining Friends of Cowan Park.
"This is a fantastic opportunity to kickstart a revival of the park for all sorts of activities and get it back to its former glory."
Douglas Yates, chairman of the friends group, said: "The new school is something to look forward to and the Friends of the Cowan Park will adapt to whatever the outcome of the consultation and planning process is.
"The school wouldn't be ring-fenced like it is at the moment with big iron railings.
"It would be integrated in the park in a similar way to the current St Ninian's High School sits within Eastwood Park and is part of the park."
"This way park land can be extended to improve facilities - our masterplan will have to be re-thought and it does dent aspirations, however, the plan can be adapted and I am confident we can bring it back to its former glory."
The masterplan the Barrhead News previewed in August included a skatepark, the re-installation of a putting green, a wildlife wetland and a memorial garden.
However, a location for the skatepark had not been decided.
Funding for the new school was approved last month and is due to open in August 2015 after a public consultation and design process.
Plans show a two-storey L-shaped building with car parking for 400 cars and a large artificial multi-purpose pitch.
An East Renfrewshire Council spokeswoman said: "The new school will be constructed in Cowan Park, but the exact location is not yet decided.
"This will be decided following a period of consultation with stakeholders. It is hoped the planning process can start in January 2013, and that a contractor will be on site early 2014, with an anticipated opening in August 2015.
"There is the opportunity to lever additional investment to secure improvements to the park."
This article appeared in Barrhead News 07 Nov 12