The £25 million relocation of one of the BBC's most popular dramas, Waterloo Road, to Scotland will be the first step in establishing a major television drama "hub" north of the Border, its producers claim.

The former Greenock Academy has now been transformed into Waterloo Road school from the BBC hit drama – with a new black and yellow crest over its door in place for filming which begins on Monday.

Fifty hour-long episodes will be shot of the school drama – which is moving to west Greenock both on-screen and off-screen after seven years in Rochdale, Manchester.

The move is expected to bring £20m to the local economy and hundreds of jobs.

Shed Media, led by founder and chief executive Eileen Gallagher, hopes the drama will be based in Greenock for another five years or more, creating at least 230 jobs while the school serves as a possible base for other future large productions.

A wing of the school is now a production studio, with edit and dubbing suites, make-up and wardrobe facilities and a canteen.

She said she hoped other independent producers, as well as in-house productions from BBC Scotland, will be drawn to Scotland and Greenock because of the Waterloo Road migration.

"You attract the directors, the camera people, it's 230 people who will be employed here with high quality jobs – this is culture, but it is also industry, and a great industry for Scotland," she said.

"You need the critical mass: the problem in Scotland, even with Taggart or Monarch of the Glen, was there were only six or eight episodes a year. You cannot build an industry with that stop-start [pattern], you need an anchor that everything else is built around – and hopefully this is the beginning of a proper [TV drama] industry in Scotland."

Twenty per cent of the show's shooting will be outside the school on location in and around Inverclyde, and Ms Gallagher said most of the production staff are likely to be Scottish or based in Scotland.

The show attracts five million viewers and Ms Gallagher is confident those viewers will not be put off by the show's abrupt move north of the Border.

"There's always a fear in dramas that something is going to change in it, but we have worked very hard to ensure that the heart of Waterloo Road, why people come to it every week, is always there and becomes even stronger," Ms Gallagher said.

The first episode shot in Scotland will be shown in the Autumn, with the large school, which is being rented from the local authority, being used all year round for shooting and pre-production.

Ms Gallagher added: "This is a game changer, if you have got a drama which is on television 30 weeks a year and is employing people year-round, from runners to directors to actors to extras, it changes everything.

"If you think about it, Manchester has got Coronation Street, Yorkshire has got Emmerdale, London has got Eastenders, Cardiff has got Casualty, and what does Glasgow have? It's now got Waterloo Road."

BBC Scotland's acting head of drama and the show's executive producer Gaynor Holmes said: "When the BBC asked Shed to move the drama here, it was very much part of a commitment to building a strong drama base in Scotland, and this is just the start, we are not done."

Ms Gallagher said the Scottish education system and the new Greenock locale would be represented "completely" honestly on screen, and although storylines would be general enough to attract a pan-UK audience, they would also have to address the Scottish independence debate.