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Education / Eight sites under consideration for potential new Brae school

A new Brae High School could be on the cards.

EIGHT sites are being explored for a potential new Brae school, councillors will be told next week.

Preliminary work has been undertaken at each site – but the expectation is that as the process continues a much smaller shortlist will be drawn up.

Shetland Islands Council said last year the priority would be land it already owned.

Councillors will also be asked to approve an additional £100,000 to allow an outline business case on the future of education in Brae to be completed.

A new build school had previously been picked as the preferred option after a survey on the condition and suitability of the existing Brae High School described the current buildings as not fit for purpose.

It highlights that it would be difficult to bring things up to top standard through refurbishment and redesign, which could cost £22 million once professional fees are included.

Previous estimates placed a new build at between £16 million and £20 million.

A report due to be pretend to councillors over the coming weeks said: “These indicative costs need to be further explored; similarly cost models now need to be built up for the remaining options to set against the refurbishment option, and the predicted cost of the preferred option of a new build school to ensure that proceeding in that direction would provide value for money and ensure that the council achieves an appropriate return on any investment.”

Shetland Islands Council could make a bid for funding to the Scottish Government’s Learning Estate Investment Programme for the project if it came to fruition.

When it comes to money for working on a business case, £125,000 has already been included in this year’s council budget for delivering its new learning estate strategy.

The additional £100,000 needed would go in part to site surveys and ground investigations, which need to be carried out by external contractors, according to council officials.

The report to councillors said the Scottish Government has provided additional revenue resource, as part of the 2022/23 general revenue grant, which will be used to fund these additional costs.

The primary building at Brae was built in the 70s and the secondary building followed in the early 1980s. It initially offered learning up to secondary four but in 1993 it expanded to fifth and sixth year.