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AHS team confident of delivering by April 2017

A computer generated image of the main entrance atrium of the new Anderson High School - Image: SIC

THE DESIGN team behind the new Anderson High School, in Lerwick, has expressed confidence that the new school will stand up to local weather conditions and be ready for pupils to move in by April 2017.

Managers from Hub North Scotland and architects Ryder were in Shetland on Wednesday to update the local authority of progress on the largest capital project Shetland Islands Council has ever undertaken.

The project’s estimated cost has risen by £1 million to £43 million due inflation. Two third of the investment will be paid for by the Scottish government through the Scottish Futures Trust.

Hub North Scotland confirmed that the contractors eventually involved in the project will be obliged to create a number of local apprenticeships.

The organisation’s chairman, Jim Royan, said they had an intense grilling from councillors earlier the same morning. Members expressed concern about the quality of the design, the timescale and whether the project would be delivered within budget.

He confirmed that main contractor Morrison Construction was in the middle of the tendering process and was actively engaged with around 20 local contractors who had applied to be considered to work on the project.

The dining hall atrium.

Architect Chris Malcolm said the design team was very conscious of the Shetland climate, and what it could do to local construction projects.

“Shetland has its own special conditions which we certainly are aware of, and this has to inform the specifications and technical details of the new school.

“Because of the climate there are very stringent parameters set for the external design of the new school and halls of residence.

“The main contractor (Morrison Construction) are actively looking at how they are going to manage that process and how you construct the school in a way that limits the amount of downtime you have,” he said.

Royen added that it had been “very helpful’ to receive plenty of invaluable expertise from the community.

“Two of the councillors have a lifetime experience in the design and construction industry,” he said.

Meanwhile, councillor Vaila Wishart moved to quell suggestions that plans to build an indoor sports pitch next to the Clickimin leisure centre was in any way an extravagant and expensive project.

Hub North Scotland chairman Jim Royan - Photo: Hans J Marter/ShetNews

The education and families committee chairwoman said the leisure centre had to provide extra space for the new school’s PE lessons.

Wishart said: “This is a joint Anderson High/Shetland Recreational Trust project. It is not extra money, but it will provide first class facilities for young people.”

The council’s own project adviser James Armitage added that building an indoor pitch of the size proposed would not have been possible without joining forces.

“This way it is much cheaper and you get more benefit for pupils,” he said. “If this would just be for the school you would not get a 60 by 40 metre synthetic playing surface, so we are using less money more effectively.”

Hub North Scotland said they expected financial close for the Anderson High project on March next year, allowing work to begin at the Clickimin site the following month.

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