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Lochaber office formally opens

Published: 17/09/2018

The building housing HIE’s new Lochaber office was formally opened on Wednesday (19 September).

Alexander Ross House was the former Fort William Primary School. It was formally opened along with the adjacent former secondary school, which was renamed the Charles Kennedy Building.

The B-listed buildings were refurbished and brought back into use in a £1.3m project by The Highland Council with support from HIE and Historic Environment Scotland.

Alexander Ross House is also home to the Lochaber Area Archive and record store, both managed by High Life Highland, and has additional office space, a shared communal reception, meeting room, toilets and staff facilities.

The Charles Kennedy Building houses a range of Highland Council operations, including the new Service Point. It also provides the new hub for the Department of Work and Pensions / JobCentre Plus.

The buildings will be formally opened by Cllr Andrew Baxter, Highland Council’s Lochaber Area Chairman, with members of Charles Kennedy’s family in attendance and partner organisations who occupy the property.

Cllr Baxter said:

“It will be an honour and a privilege to formally declare both the Charles Kennedy Building and Alexander Ross House open. Together these redeveloped buildings now deliver a fantastic new site providing modern and accessible facilities serving the local Fort William and wider Lochaber community.”

Scott Dingwall, HIE’s head of regional development in Lochaber, said: 
“This is a great new facility that benefits, not just the organisations based here, but the members of the public looking to access the services we provide. There are also wider benefits of having these impressive listed buildings brought back into productive use, and enhancing the appearance of the entrance to the town.”