The new Anderson High School and hall of residence could be built on the playing fields south of the Clickimin Centre under new options being worked on by consultants. Another alternative to digging into the side of the Staney Hill is to build on the football kick-about and rugby pitches at North Lochside.
The new architects, the Peter Johnson Partnership from Lerwick, have completed basic designs for the school on the new sites, which are not currently zoned for educational use and would require a change of council zoning policy as well as more detailed site investigation.
The new sites are being assessed for a number of reasons including that it should be cheaper to build on the flat instead of higher up the hillside which was originally earmarked for the school. The architects also think there may not be enough room on the original site to fit in a new hall of residence. Moving away from the hillside would also minimise the amount of light lost from being in the shadow of a hill.
The new alternatives on the north or south sides of the Clickimin Centre both contain enough room to put the school and hall of residence and, according to PJP: “The site to the south of Clickimin leisure complex offers the best opportunity for integrated facilities and shared car parking.”
Detailed discussions on the proposals are due to take place today at a private meeting of the council’s member-official working group dedicated to the new AHS project.
Councillors were updated on progress at yesterday’s meeting of the services committee during which councillor Jonathan Wills blew his top about what he saw as a lack of progress over the past eight months.
He accused un-named people of dragging their feet and “harbouring fantasies” that they were still going to build at the site of the existing school on the Knab. “This is not going to happen,” he said.
The work currently being done includes investigating all potential sites around the Clickimin/Staney Hill and creating a new design for the school. The council does not yet know the size of school needed until it has decided the fate of all the junior highs and Brae High School as a result of the Blueprint for Education.
The local authority is also legally required to conduct a full consultation with the public, teachers and pupils about moving the school site across town – something it omitted to do before deciding in September that it was going to scrap the Knab plans. Head of schools Helen Budge said the statutory consultation would only start in September, after the school holidays, and will last for six weeks. All the school preparation work is due to be finished by December.