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Education capital projects progress in Highland schools

14th November 2013

Progress was welcomed today by members of The Highland Council's Adult and Children's Service's Committee on a number of several major education capital projects.

Approval to bring forward the fourth and final phase of the redevelopment of Lochaber High School was given by members. The council anticipates that this will achieve:
a considerable reduction in the capital expenditure required to complete the redevelopment;
clear educational benefits with less disruption to the operation of the school; and
completion of the redevelopment approximately two years ahead of programme.

Also in Lochaber, members were informed that tenders have been received for the three Fort William Primary Schools projects and the council anticipates that all three contracts will be awarded before the end of December 2013.

Members were informed of proposals for a new 1million annex to Bun-sgoil Ghidhlig Inbhir Nis that would provide two nursery classrooms. The existing nursery classroom would be used as a primary classroom resulting in 10 classrooms in the main building. Projected increases in the school roll have also prompted the Authority to give consideration to providing additional primary classroom capacity and any related impact on social and dining space. Members agreed to a review of the options at the Bun-sgoil and that design work would commence subject to formal approval at the next meeting of the Committee.
Approval was also given to:
upgrade emergency lighting and fire alarms at Mount Pleasant and Pennyland Primary Schools in Caithness at an estimated cost of 1.5 million; and
to upgrade accommodation at St Clements and St Duthus Schools at the estimated costs of 1.2 million and 2 million respectively.

An extra 300,000 funding was approved by members for the 1.2 million works at Central Primary School in Inverness to provide new kitchen and dining facilities, two nursery classrooms and an expanded Doorways pupil support facility.

Recommendations to carry out 450,000 works in Summer 2014 on the Lochaber High School, Synthetic Turf Playing Field to upgrade the facility to a 3G surface were welcomed by members. This development will benefit the school and sports clubs in the area seeking appropriate training facilities throughout the year.

Wick High School and Primary Schools

The revised programme to construct the building to replace the existing Wick
High School, Pulteneytown Academy Primary School, South Primary School,
Wick Carnegie Public Library and Wick Swimming Pool, which will be known as
the Wick Community Campus, has been formally agreed with Hub North
Scotland Limited (HNSL) and Miller Construction UK (MCUK).

The key milestone dates are as follows:

Stage 2 submission 10/01/14
Financial close and contract agreement - 07/02/14
Construction start on site 31/03/14
Practical completion 29/01/16
Handover period February to April 2016
Completion of external works August 2016

The construction work packages are currently being tendered in accordance with
the requirements of the Territory Partner Agreement (TPA) which includes a
significant proportion of the contracts being made available to local contractors.

The replacement school for Hillhead Primary School and North Primary School
remains on programme to open in August 2015. The Stage 1 submission has
been received and the Councils project team and specialist advisers are
considering the detail. It is proposed that, subject to the Stage 1 submission
being within the Affordability Cap approved at the New Project Request stage
(when adjusted for indexation), approval to allow the project to progress to Stage
2 is delegated to the Directors of Education, Culture and Sport and Finance and
the Interim Director of Housing and Property Services. This approach will ensure
that there are no delays to the programme as a result of waiting for the
appropriate Committee approval for the Stage 1 submission. The evaluation of
the Stage 1 submission should be completed by mid-November 2013. The key
programme dates are as follows:

Enabling works commence 20/01/14
Contract award - 17/03/14
Construction starts 14/04/14
School handover 12/06/15
Completion of all external works 26/02/16

Councillor Alasdair Christie, Chairman of the Adult and Childrens Services Committee welcomed the work that has been done to progress the education services capital projects, he said: I am delighted that we are able to make progress and see these major capital investments taking place in the schools that needs them most. I am certain that they will bring major benefit to the quality of education that we provide and will help to future-proof the schools that we are investing in to make them fit-for-purpose.


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