High School of Dundee ‘to transform Post Office into £16m arts hub’

STV, 31.08.15, a Dundee high school has unveiled plans to transform one of the city's landmark buildings into a world-class performing arts venue. HMC member Dr John Halliday, Rector of the leading independent High School of Dundee is quoted.

More than 1000 staff and pupils from the independent High School of Dundee staged a colourful carnival of music and art to publicly launch the £16m project at the former Head Post Office building at Meadowside on Monday.

The campaign is thought to be the most ambitious capital project ever embarked on by a UK independent school.

A gala dinner was held at the Palace of Westminster earlier this year to kick off the fundraising drive, which is expected to run until 2020.

Monday's public event included a torchlight procession from the school to a red carpet leading into the building, a pipe band performance, fire performances, a flag-waving show and speeches.

A new painting of the school was unveiled as part of the launch ceremony by renowned contemporary artist Nael Hanna.

The school bought the neighbouring building on Ward Road in 2013 and has worked with architects Page/Park to create the ambitious plan for the building.

If plans are approved, the new building will include an auditorium, music, dance, drama and visual arts spaces and facilities, home economics facilities, a new dining hall and other social areas for pupils.

The news comes hot on the heels of Dundee being awarded UNESCO City of Design status and it is hoped the new facility will be available for use by local groups and for conferences.

The historic building is currently empty and has been stripped back ready for its transformation.

A spokesperson for Page\Park said: "The acquisition by the school of the former Post Office building adjacent to the main school complex has initiated a remarkable vision for an arts complex, second to none in an academic context in the United Kingdom."

Rector of the High School of Dundee, Dr John Halliday, said: "Music, art and design and drama are at the very heart of the school. We aspire to the highest standards and we now want to develop our facilities to ensure they are second to none in Scottish schools, whilst also providing a wonderful enhancement to the city centre/Meadowside area.

"This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create something which I hope the whole city will be proud of."

Page\Park have been responsible for the redevelopment or construction of high profile buildings across Scotland, including the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and Rosslyn Chapel Visitor Centre, and, in Dundee, the McManus and Dundee University's School of Computing.

The development is expected to take several years to complete.

The building sits behind the DC Thomson Meadowside complex, which is currently being prepared to allow staff to move there from its current headquarters at 80 Kingsway East.

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