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Estimated cost for new school now at £42 million

A map showing the site for the AHS project - Image: SIC

 

THE potential cost for the new Anderson High School has shot up by £6 million to £42 million.

The Scottish Government has agreed to increase its share in the project from £24 million to £28 million after it emerged that the SIC and the government were working with different measurements as to the size agreed for the school.

Councillors at next week’s education committee will be asked to agree an increase in the council’s own contribution towards the new school from £12 million to £14 million.

Finance boss James Gray said the agreement had always been to replace the old Anderson High on a ‘like for like’ basis.

However, under Scottish government guidelines a 1,000-pupil school would only need a floor space of 11,000 square metres (11 sqm per pupil) while the old Anderson High has a floor space of 13,000 sqm.

Following negotiation, the government has now agreed to help finance a 13,000 sqm high school with a higher price tag.

Gray said: “In order to get the same sized school, we now need to call it a 1,180 pupil school.

“If we hadn’t gone for 13,000sqm, we would have ended up with a school 15 per cent smaller.”

Currently the Anderson High School has a roll of 873 pupils.

The exact costs however will only be known in spring next year when councillors are asked to sign off the project.

The latest Anderson High School progress report is now available on the SIC’s website after councillors rejected discussing a 165 page report in private last week.

A small section of the report, containing contractual information, will still be discussed in private at Tuesday’s meeting.

The new school, to be built at the current camping site next to the Clickimin Leisure Centre, will be designed and built by joint venture company HubCo, set up to build public sector projects in the north of Scotland.

One councillor has already voiced concern that the proposed design, built, finance and maintain model (DBFM) looked too much like the now discredited public finance initiative (PFI).

Gray confirmed that the £42 million price tag included the new school, a 100 bed halls of residence plus an extension to the Clickimin Leisure Centre to allow the sport facility to be used for PE lessons.

 

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