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Hebrides News



Works are due to start this month to provide a refurbished base for Comunn Eachdraidh Nis, the historical society in the Ness area.


Initial phases of the £1 million project will focus on bringing the former schoolhouse at the old Cross School back into use as a history archive and office.


A store and workshop will replace the former canteen.


Later stages involve expanding the museum as well as remodelling the café and kitchen facilities.


In addition, a function room and exhibition area will also be created.


Despite community protests the building closed as a primary school in 2011.


The historical society - which one of the most active in the islands - moved in with the aspiration of upgrading the premises.


Now that vision is turning into reality with construction taking place over this year.


Annie Macsween, chairperson of Comunn Eachdraidh Nis, said the organisation has a” strong track-record and reputation for delivering innovative projects over many years.”


She added: “The renovation of these buildings has been a goal since the organisation relocated to the former Cross Primary School.


“It is a great example of what can be achieved when a community works together to develop a facility designed to benefit themselves and visitors to the area.” 


Services at the centre will be disruption for the remainder of the year. 


The museum will close for the whole of the construction stage.  


However, the archive, café and gift shop will continue to operate until the end of summer it is hoped though there may be restrictions on visitors numbers during peal periods.


Ruairidh Moir, project architect, said:  "It has been a great privilege to be involved in this very exciting and transformative project for Comunn Eachdraidh Nis.  


“We feel that the project as envisaged will be of huge benefit to the wider community, and also secure the former Sgoil Chrois building for future generations.”


A “buy-a-brick” fundraiser has been launched after securing finance for the project proved difficult. Around a dozen funders are now onboard including Western Isles Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise while the organisation is also making a contribution.


£1 million upgrade for historical society centre

3 March 2018