In 1954 Basil Spence & Partners, along with Caithness County Architect, William Wilson, were commissioned by Thurso County Council to build a new high school. A large green-field site was chosen on the east side of County Road, to the south of the town. Officially opened in October 1958, Thurso is the most northerly secondary school on mainland Great Britain. The main campus is made up of a number of informally grouped buildings of varying heights surrounding a central courtyard.

Each building is given individual surface treatment and a variety of contrasting materials have been used including Caithness stone, polished stone, timber boarding, and concrete slabs.

The school was commissioned in two phases, the first completed in October 1958 and the second begun in May 1959, less than a year after its official opening. The reason for the extension to the school was the growth in Thurso and the surrounding area’s population after the development of Dounreay nuclear power station. Although the school was built in anticipation of a population increase, the growth was greater and more rapid than expected, and at its peak Dounreay’s staff of 2,400 people trebled the size of the town.