NAFC close accommodation to allow for tests

Port Arthur House. Photo: PeterJohnson/Shetland News

THE STUDENT accommodation at the NAFC Marine Centre campus, in Scalloway, is closing to allow engineers to get to the bottom of an ongoing structural issue.

Merchant navy cadets have already been moved out of the first floor accommodation but Port Arthur House will now be completely vacated by the end of August.

The long-standing problem of a clear deflection in the first floor has become more obvious in recent months.

NAFC director Willie Shannon said the college’s board of management had decided on a planned closure to thoroughly investigate the problem.

“We have to have this dealt with properly,” he said, “and take this precautionary measure.

“By the end of the summer the building will be completely empty.”

Shannon said he was unable to say much more as the course of action would only become clear once survey results would be available and technical as well as legal advice had been received.

Depending on the cause of the structural problem, remedial measures could prove costly for the NAFC who owns the building.

The well-used student accommodation was built in 2000 and can accommodate 28 people in 25 rooms.

Students are meanwhile being moved to privately rented accommodation in and around Scalloway.

The move is the second such closure of a public building in Shetland in as many years. In September 2016 Shetland Islands Council was advised to evacuate its headquarters at 8 North Ness but has since moved back in after no fault with the deflection of the floor slabs was found.