SHETLAND Islands Council expects to get the keys to the new £55.75 million Anderson High School and halls of residence within the next week as its construction comes to an end.
Pupils will have their last day at the current Anderson on Wednesday before taking a couple of extra days off on either side of the October holidays, which will run from Monday (9 October) to Tuesday 24 October inclusive.
Edinburgh based removals specialists Pickfords will begin to pack up items from the old school while the pupils are on holiday.
Most of the furniture in the school will be new, but some desks and chairs will be transferred across, while items like books and science equipment will also be taken over to the lower Staney Hill site as well as larger things like the kiln.
SIC director of children’s services Helen Budge said that school project, led by Morrison Construction since it commenced in August 2015, is “still within budget”.
“The council is looking to expect handover within the next week or so,” she said on Monday following the council’s education and families committee meeting.
“The move staff are very busy at the moment preparing to pack up at the end of this week, and then begin to unpack at the last week of October, with the secondary four, five and six pupils starting back at 27 October, with secondary one, two and three joining them on the 30th.”
Chairman of the SIC’s families and education committee George Smith praised the work of the contractor and sub contractor and said the school spaces are “excellent”.
The school will cater for a maximum of 1,180 pupils, while there will bed 100 beds in the halls of residence.
“I think there would be millions of young folk across the world that would be absolutely delighted to be able to move into a school like the new Anderson,” Smith said.
“The pressure always comes on at the end of the project, and you’re always looking to try and get it finished, so you can understand that everybody is anxious to see it finished, including the main contractors and the sub contractors.
“But I think we have to recognise as well the quality of work we’ve had from Morrison and their sub contractors all the way through.
“They’ve managed to deliver within the Shetland environment a school that I think everyone at the end of the day will be proud of. We shouldn’t lose sight of the months and months of work that has gone on to get us to that stage.”
Smith added that the “snagging” process for a major project like the new Anderson is likely to mean that there may still be some minor works carried out in the coming weeks and months.
Budge also praised council officers from various departments who helped the local authority to reach the project’s end game.
“Ones in roads, ones in IT, ones in building control, ones in estate management, ones in capital projects – they have been working really hard and have prioritised this project above their other work to help us meet this timescale, and we’re very grateful to everybody who has done that.”
With the old Anderson due to close its doors to pupils after over 150 years, there is likely to be a few teary eyes when the bell rings for the final time on Wednesday.
A masterplan is currently being created by Edinburgh architects 7N for transforming the soon to be the empty old Anderson site at the Knab, with potential uses from housing and education to a hotel and recreational space suggested.
“I think it will be very sentimental not just for the pupils and staff that are there currently, but I’m sure there are many folk across Shetland that will have very fond memories and will have a moment’s reflection of an end of an establishment that has been there for a very, very long time,” Budge said.
“For now to be moving to such a different building and a different site, it will be interesting and exciting to hear what folk of think of that when they get there.
“I think there will be many folk across Shetland that will be very reflective come Wednesday.”