IT could take until 2027 to begin rebuilding work on Glasgow School of Art (GSA), it has emerged.

The institution's world-famous Mackintosh building was destroyed by fire three years ago. The blaze was the second in four years and took place as the previous £35 million restoration work was nearing completion.

Consultants have now delivered detailed work on options for the Garnethill site in a strategic outline business case (SOBC).

GSA chiefs say rebuilding the "Mack", designed by former student Charles Rennie Mackintosh, as a "faithful reinstatement" of his original is their preferred option.

Work on this could start next year, but could take until 2027.

Consultants had looked at whether a new building, a hybrid design or a faithful reinstated was the best option. Further consideration will now take place on issues including financing, but the plan would mean reusing what remains of internal walls, floors and masonry to create something that looks identical to what was destroyed in the June 2018 blaze.

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The library, boardroom, director's office, Mackintosh Room, lecture theatre, studio 58, the hen run, loggia, museum and studio 11 would be reinstated, together with all the other spaces, including studios.

Professor Penny Macbeth, GSA director, said: "The original art school building is synonymous with The Glasgow School of Art and it was central to the GSA's learning, teaching and research for over a century, as well as being an important part of Glasgow's cultural life and heritage.

"One of the recommendations of the Scottish Government's culture tourism Europe and external affairs committee report was that we should examine a range of options for the future of the building, and the strategic outline business case has done just that, subjecting each of them to a rigorous analysis.

"Core to the SOBC was a programme of stakeholder engagement and I should like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who took part in this programme, including our external steering group, led by Professor John French, for their vital contributions and insight.

"We will continue to work closely with our stakeholders throughout the project."

More than 120 firefighters tackled the 2018 blaze at its height. The flames also took hold of nearby music venue the 02 ABC, itself a historic and much-loved building. Local residents and businesses were evacuated and forced to stay out of their premises as safety work went on.

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An inquiry by MSPs found the school's leaders had failed to protect it and called for a public inquiry. 

The latest news comes one week after GSA appointed an interim chairwoman, following the resignation of Muriel Gray. Kristen Bennie has been an independent governor at the school since 2019 and will take the top job temporarily while the search for Gray's successor goes on.

Broadcaster Gray had herself faced sustained criticism over the fires. Stepping down in September, she said her GSA role had been "the greatest honour" and that the school was "now in a considerably more positive place" as a result of developments since 2018. She stated: "The time has come to introduce a fresh, energetic, and long-term committed person to the role who can take the GSA forward to the next exciting phase."