An attempt is to be made to allay the concerns of parents and teachers in Yell who fear that the new £8.5 million school in Mid Yell will be too small.
A letter of protest from the parent council in Yell was sent to SIC councillors last week and teachers held a meeting last Tuesday to voice their concerns to councillor Robert Henderson.
The original plans for the school have been down-sized greatly after tenders came in at least £1m over budget. Since then the chosen contractor MT Højgaard from Denmark has been working with the council to pare down costs by using different materials and building methods. The use of space in the building has also been overhauled, prompting some of the concerns.
Mr Henderson told the services committee last Thursday that the teachers were “very perturbed” about the cuts, particularly a 50 per cent cut in storage space.
He said the building had originally been 3,500 square metres but was now down to 2,200 square metres.
Urging officials to liaise with the teachers to ensure the council ends up with a school “fit for purpose”, he warned that the last school built in Mid Yell was only up two or three years before portable cabins had to be brought in to provide more space.
Head of schools Helen Budge said the school plan was still for a building 20 per cent bigger than the existing one. She said she could appreciate how disappointing it was when a building that was originally to be much larger had to be cut due to budget restrictions. However, she assured the committee it would be fit for purpose.
The school is designed to add classrooms onto, perhaps if it has to accommodate extra pupils from any small schools closed in the coming years, but Mr Henderson said that having to extend it later was surely what the council wanted to avoid.
Mrs Budge is to meet the groups from Yell in a bid to address their concerns.