PARENTS have demanded to keep an East Ayrshire Catholic school open after it came under threat.

Residents overwhelmingly in favour voted to keep St Sophia’s Primary School open in Galston.

Now East Ayrshire Council officials are recommending councillors keep the Catholic school at its current site on Neville Drive.

The council has been looking to close the current building and move the school elsewhere as the old Irvine Valley primary needs major building work.

The property is 60 years old and would need £2.88 million investment to bring it up to standard for the next two decades.

One option is to move it five miles away to Kilmarnock, and incorporate it into St Andrew’s Primary.

The other choice is to flit to the nearby Loudoun Academy site.

During public meetings, 96 per cent of people (119) voted to refurbish the current St Sophia’s building. 

Online and written responses show 83 per cent (312 people) are in favour of a makeover of the current building.

Councillors are due to make a decision this week.  Officers recommend cabinet members vote for ‘Option 1’ which would see the school undergo a major revamp.

A council report said: “It is the view, however, of officers that, on balance, Option 1 better meets the needs of the children in St Sophia’s Primary School and those children and young people attending the other schools affected by this proposal.”

Pupils may have to temporarily move out to allow building work to take place.

The report said: “Should there be intrusive works required to address the condition of the building, it may be that children have to be decanted.”

It added: “In such an event, mitigation would have to be put in place to address the inherent risks associated with a vacant council building for the duration of the decant.”