By RYAN TAYLOR
A DEDICATED project manager has been appointed to help bring the new Anderson High School to fruition following its troubled gestation.
Alister Coutts will be leading a team from Edinburgh-based construction and property consultants Robinson Low Francis to help complete the project.
SIC services committee chairman Gussie Angus said the new AHS would be “meat and drink” to the new manager.
Dr Coutts was in Shetland on Monday, meeting councillors and officials to discuss a way forward for the school. Answerable to the services committee, he will appear before councillors on 4th February.
Mr Angus said the appointment would finally help the SIC’s biggest capital project, which has been dogged by controversy over how much it will cost and where it will be situated, get off the ground.
“This is an important appointment. He will be dedicated to this project and will have no other responsibilities. It is important to have dedicated time on the project to make sure the council gets the right result – for the school and for the community – at an affordable cost.
“He’s had wide experience in the private sector and local government, and was latterly head of capital projects for Highland Council. Schools are meat and drink to him. It’s what he does.
“We need to know what progress is being made and whether or not we can still do this within budget. He will now go away and decide how we can best move forward.”
Dr Coutts’ appointment comes days after the £49 million school found itself on the right side of the shutters after councillors agreed to push through a moratorium on new building projects.
Meanwhile, SIC assistant chief executive Willie Shannon, will line manage Shetland’s capital projects programme after the council agreed changes to a number of senior positions.
He will take over from existing capital programme head Chris Medley, who will concentrate solely on his efforts as head of housing to reverse Shetland’s housing shortage.
Neil Grant, until now interim head of economic development, has been given the post permanently. He will finalise the transfer of trust staff to the council, and will soon propose the structure of the combined organisation.
Executive director of education and social care Hazel Sutherland will in future act as the council’s deputy chief executive when required.