One of the UK’s largest building companies, Miller Construction, has been awarded the contract to build the new Anderson High School in Lerwick.
The school, which will go at the lower Staney Hill, will be designed by Ryder Architecture and it is hoped construction can begin in a year’s time.
A trio of other firms – Turner and Townsend, Sweett Group and Faithful and Gould – have been appointed to carry out surveying, technical and certifying work on the project, which has an estimated £36 million price tag.
The appointments have been made on the SIC’s behalf by Hub North Scotland, which has been tasked with overseeing the delivery of schools on behalf of six different local authorities.
There is now a tangible sense of optimism among councillors that the 20-year saga is finally nearing its climax. In a short statement, the council said work on the lower Staney Hill site was due to get under way by 31st March 2014.
Education and families committee chairwoman Vaila Wishart said: “I’m pleased we’ve come to this stage in the project. We’ve waited many years now for a new Anderson High School, and I’m confident Hub North will deliver a fine new school for Shetland.”
Hub North representatives were in the isles on Wednesday to take questions from councillors.
Members of the education and families committee were eager to know how much of the work might be subcontracted to local companies.
The organisation’s development director Fraser Innes said 18 contractors and consultants from Shetland had expressed an interest in tendering for work.
Hub North plans to initiate talks with local firms in the next few days. Mr Innes said the intention was for a minimum of 80 per cent of the project’s works to be put out to tender.
Now that a group of five contractors and consultants are in place, Mr Innes said the team could “move forward with the development in terms of technical design and engagement of the local supply chain”.
“All your members have previously been very clear that support for the local economy is absolutely crucial, and that’s uppermost in our mind,” he said.
Miller Construction is part of the wider Miller Group, which is the UK’s largest privately owned house-building, property and construction business. Miller Construction is seeking to more than double its £239 million turnover to £600 million by 2015.
Founded in 1953, Ryder Architecture is the leading designer of buildings in the north east of England. Its HQ is in Newcastle, and it has offices in Glasgow, Liverpool and London.
It has designed numerous schools and colleges either side of the border, as well as major public buildings including Newcastle City Library and the £28.5 million redevelopment of Glasgow Central Station.
In December, SIC members heard that the council’s contribution to the project should be capped at around £12 million, with twice that amount coming from Holyrood.
The Scottish Government will borrow its £24 million contribution over a 25-year period. Once completed, the school will belong to the local authority.
Full coverage in Friday’s Shetland Times.