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DITT wins contract for new £6m Eric Gray

The old Seafield hockey pitch, where the new Eric Gray centre is to be built starting in July. Photo: Shetnews/Neil Riddell

A CONTRACT to build the £6million replacement Eric Gray Resource Centre in Lerwick has been awarded to local firm DITT Construction Ltd.

Shetland Islands Council and the integration joint board (made up of the SIC and NHS Shetland) have appointed DITT to the contract, with work on a new facility at the Seafield hockey pitch due to begin in July and expected to last two years.

The project is designed to provide a “wide spectrum of services to a range of client groups” including people with moderate-to-high need learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder and complex needs.

DITT director Peter Tait told Shetland News the company was pleased to attract such a sizeable piece of work.

“It gives us a good bit of confidence for the next 18 months to two years,” he said. “There may be some recruitment – we’ll see how it falls in with other work.

“When work is done locally, whether it’s by ourselves or others, it’s good for the local economy and gives a bit of confidence to everybody.”

An architect's drawing of how the new Eric Gray centre at Seafield will look. Image courtesy of Richard Gibson Architects.
It is the latest milestone for a project which has been in the offing for around a decade, with a feasibility study carried out way back in October 2006.

Carers and parents of those who will use the centre had feared it would fall by the wayside due to capital spending cutbacks. 

But councillors got the project back on track in June 2014 by approving a brand new building rather than a refurbishment of the existing premises. 

SIC councillor and integration joint board chairman Cecil Smith said he was “extremely pleased” to see the contract awarded for a new facilities to “support some of Shetland’s most vulnerable people, and which marks a significant investment by the council at this time”.

He continued: “The new building will provide a safe, flexible environment, and will be future-proofed to allow services to be delivered to those with a wide range of needs and abilities into the future.

“I’d like to pay tribute to officers who have brought the project to this stage, but perhaps more importantly to parents and service users, who have waited so long for this development to get underway, and also to the current staff at Eric Gray, who have all worked alongside us throughout this process.”