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Public asked to suggest name for new hostel

Progress on construction of the new AHS halls of residence at lower Staney Hill - Photo: ShetNews

THE PUBLIC are being given the chance to have their say on what the new Anderson High School halls of residence should be called.

A hostel consisting of 100 bedrooms forms part of the £55.75 million new school complex that is being constructed at Lerwick’s lower Staney Hill. It will replace the Janet Courtney Hostel adjacent to the existing school.

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Asking the public to name a building can have its pitfalls, as the Natural Environmental Research Council discovered when internet wags voted in their droves to name its new ship ‘Boaty McBoatface’.

But children’s services director Helen Budge assured councillors that, once a list has been compiled, the final decision will be theirs.

The mood in Lerwick Town Hall during Monday’s education and families committee meeting would tend to suggest that anyone wanting to see the halls of residence christened ‘Hostel McHostelface’ is going to be disappointed.

Councillor Gary Cleaver had questioned whether “in the public climate of naming entities we might be storing up a bit of trouble for ourselves”.

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But Budge responded: “The decision will come back to this table. I’ll come with a list and it’ll be for you to make that decision.”

SIC leader Gary Robinson said it was “not a popularity contest, so it doesn’t matter how many times they put in Boaty McBoatface, we’re not calling it that”.

Cleaver said it was already being referred to as the Anderson High School halls of residence – “hasn’t it already got a name?” – and questioned whether “deferred patronage by naming buildings after dead people is really a good precedent to follow”.

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More than 440 people have signed a petition launched last year calling for the hostel to be named the George McGhee Halls of Residence in honour of “someone who has been a friend, mentor and hugely influential figure in the lives of decades of young people from rural Shetland”.

The current AHS halls of residence, which houses pupils from smaller islands and outlying parts of the Shetland mainland, is named the Janet Courtney Hostel (JCH) in honour of her role as a benefactor of the Carnegie Trust charity.

However, as the Carnegie Trust has no link to the new building, the council is inviting the public to make suggestions.

The process will also involve those currently staying at the JCH and young children elsewhere in Shetland who will eventually use the new halls of residence.

The consultation will run from 20 April to 8 June, with final suggestions given to the education and families committee before its members pick a name.

Those interested in suggesting a name are invited to submit their idea to:

Children’s Services,

Hayfield House,

Hayfield Lane,

Lerwick

ZE1 0QD

or email: arianne.fraser@shetland.gov.uk

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