Soft music ends Royal High School saga
The old building of the Royal High School in Edinburgh is to be transformed into a £ 55million national music center after the Edinburgh City Council accepted the lease of the historic property.
Advisors to the Finance and Resources Committee today approved a proposal from the Royal High School Preservation Trust (RHSPT) for an emphyteutic lease of the property.
Submitted in response to the council’s search for long-term use of the former Royal High School, the RHSPT put forward new detailed proposals for the restoration of the iconic Thomas Hamilton building on Calton Hill as a ‘world-class center for music education and public performance for the benefit of all of Scotland’.
The Trust said its ambitions turned into a vision for a new National Music Center with clearly defined spaces for classical music education, community access, engagement and performance.
Sainte-Marie Music School, which received unanimous planning approval by Edinburgh councilors in 2016, remains at the heart of the proposal. In addition, the proposals include a café, gallery and visitor center, located in generous and fully accessible public gardens.
The design team on the project includes Richard Murphy Architects, architects, design and accessibility; Simpson and Brown, architects of conservation; Optimized environments (OP-EN), landscape and environment; and David Narro Partners, civil engineers.
According to committee documents, the Trust will pay an initial amount of £ 1.5million to secure the 125-year lease, with a charge of £ 1 per year each year thereafter.
The bulk of the project’s £ 55million budget will be funded by the Dunard Fund, with £ 10million coming from endowments.
A backgrounder added: “The RHSPT program is based on modifications to an existing building permit; development finance has been demonstrated; and the proposed use is acceptable, protecting its dominant position and allowing future public access.
“The creation of a National Music School would be of strategic importance for the city.
“In conclusion, it is recommended that RHSPT’s proposal be selected as the preferred option for the site.”
Councilor Rob Munn, Head of Finance and Resources, said: “It is great news that this iconic building, located at the heart of our World Heritage site, is now being restored and reused, making it accessible for many generations to come.
“I am delighted that the committee has approved this proposal today, as I am confident that it meets our criteria, as the HRSPT will ensure a long-term sustainable future for the old school while committing to respect the high architectural standards required for the future restoration of the school. building to ensure it complies with our World Heritage Site.
Councilor Joan Griffiths, Vice President of Finance and Resources, said: “This is great news for the people of Edinburgh as when we finalize the lease we will explore opportunities to partner with RHSPT so that we can share knowledge and open up opportunities for our students as well as other musicians, choirs and orchestras from all over the city to make good use of this highly regarded building and the world-class facilities that the trust plans to provide.
Properties of Maison Duddingston and Urban planner hotels, who saw their revised plans for a redevelopment of 127 rooms in the building pushed back by the Scottish government in November following a public inquiry, pledged to come back with new proposals for the site.