Councillors advised to proceed with new Anderson High School

The future of Shetland’s biggest capital project will be decided by councillors on Thursday, with officials recommending the go-ahead.

Members of the services committee will discuss whether to allow revised plans for the new Anderson High School in Lerwick to be submitted to the SIC’s planning department.

If approved, work on the site could start in the autumn, with completion expected in December 2012.
If the school clears this week’s hurdle, a planning application should be submitted next month.

A report by executive director of education and social care Hazel Sutherland recommends the £49 million development should go ahead on the current planned site at the Knab. This comes nine months after a larger design was dramatically scaled back to reduce the overall cost.

Some councillors have called for other sites, such as Clickimin or Seafield, to be considered instead of the Knab. But the report recommends the current site be retained for the new development.

Any change in location, it says, would mean detailed surveys and designs having to be redone, leading to a delay of 18 months to two years.

The estimated cost of developing alternative sites could range from £4.7 million – in the case of Seafield – to £8 million at Clickimin.

Should the school go ahead at the Knab, a certain number of pupils and staff will have to be decanted before construction work can progress.

Because the proposal will involve the demolition of the music block, the music department will be set up in the new Bruce Hostel.

Meanwhile, the demolition of the games hall will lead to pupils receiving PE lessons at either the Clickimin Centre or at Gilbertson Park in the short term.

Despite the threatened disruption, council officials are anxious that work on replacing the old school should progress as soon as possible.

The current Anderson High is falling well below standard, with the school having to close its doors to pupils almost a regular basis because of leaky pipes.

The latest came as senior pupils were busily revising for prelim exams.


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