A FAMOUS former pupil returned to Lornshill Academy for the official opening of the new school building last Wednesday.

And football pundit Alan Hansen was impressed by the state-of-the-art facilities.

The former Liverpool and Scotland footballer, who was born in Sauchie, attended the original Lornshill Academy in the 1970s.

And he admitted the school he left many years ago could not compete with the impressive surroundings which welcome today's pupils.

The academy's 1100 pupils and 120 staff are settling in well to their new building, having moved in last month, and are already reaping the benefits of their state of the art surroundings.

Members of the community have also been taking advantage of the new facilities, booking meeting spaces and using the gym and other sports equipment during the summer holidays, after school hours and at weekends.

The new school is part of the £70 million plus PPP project delivered by Clackmannanshire Schools Education Partnership (CSEP) with three new secondary schools opening in the county in 2009.

The opening ceremony, was hosted by Provost Derek Stewart.

He said, "The new Lornshill Academy boasts some exceptional new facilities and I am delighted that Alan Hansen accepted our invitation to perform the opening ceremony.

"The council is committed to providing the best possible education for young people in Clackmannanshire and this new school will help us achieve that." Headteacher Danny Murphy said the move has provided pupils and staff with amazing new facilities.

He added, "This is a once in a generation experience for the learning community which is Lornshill Academy. "We have outstanding new learning facilities, which bring us right up to date.

"It is great that one of our most successful former pupils, Alan Hansen, should return to open the new building, together with the councillors that have made it possible.

"Our Head Boy and Head Girl, who will lead our pupils in their first year in the new building, also spoke about their hopes for the new Lornshill. "This ceremony was an excellent event and a fitting start to what I am sure will be a fantastic new chapter in the life of Lornshill Academy." CSEP director Tim Sharpe said, "CSEP, which comprises Bilfinger Berger Project Investments and Ogilvie, is extremely pleased with the outcome of this project.

"We believe that PPP is a system that delivers enhanced results for our clients and the community. It is the collaborative, partnership approach of the PPP process that has allowed us to deliver the full range of fantastic facilities at Lornshill Academy.

"We look forward to working with Lornshill Academy and Clackmannanshire Council for the next 25 years." The new school boasts specialist science, art, music, ICT and drama classrooms.

The indoor sports facilities include a games hall, gymnasium, dance studio, fitness suite and a state of the art PE classroom for high level coaching sessions.

There is also an assembly hall with seating for over 400 people, including bleacher seating for 300. The hall has a theatre-standard stage area with appropriate lighting and sound systems to stage school and community performances.

Lornshill also has a fully equipped music department, performance rooms and a recording room and additional drama and performance areas for teaching and rehearsing.

All the facilities are available for the community to book from 6pm-9.45pm, Monday to Friday, 9am-4.45pm on Saturdays and noon-4.45pm on Sundays.

As the former Lornshill Academy is demolished, phase two of the Lornshill development continues, which will lead to the school being able to host county-wide sports events.

Two grass pitches will be formed, one rugby pitch and a smaller pitch suitable for games such as tag rugby being created. A 400m, six lane synthetic track and other athletic facilities will also be built.