An agreement has been signed between Shetland Islands Council and Hubco – the body responsible for overseeing the construction of new schools in the north of Scotland – clearing the way for replacement Anderson High School plans to be developed.
Council officials say the deal means the new school could be built within two years, and the task of paying for the £42 million project will be shared between the council and the Scottish government. Earlier this year the council envisaged having the school open by August 2016.
As well as the new secondary school, the agreement will also see the development of a new halls of residence and a refurbishment of the Clickimin Leisure complex.
The progress has been welcomed in a statement from the council.
Chairwoman of education and families, Vaila Wishart, said: “This partnership which Shetland Islands Council has entered into with Scottish Futures Trust, the Scottish government and Hub North Scotland will mean that the new Anderson High School will be financed by both the Scottish government and Shetland Islands Council.
“After such a long time it is good to know that a new Anderson High School will now be designed and built over the next couple of years.”
The project package is one of a number of developments in the education sector being led by Hub North Scotland, a venture company formed between the public and private sectors.
Chief executive of Hub North Scotland, Angus Macfarlane, said: “Our board has accepted the new project requests and we are moving forward to the design phase. It is encouraging to see momentum building and we look forward to working with Shetland Islands Council and the community to continue this progress. There has already been extensive consultation with all of the stakeholders and that will continue throughout the process.
“There has also been interest from local suppliers regarding potential contract opportunities. Miller Construction, the lead contractor for the site, is holding a ‘meet the buyer’ event which will likely take place later this year. It is too early to outline specific contract opportunities but we will remain in constant contact with the local business community to ensure all parties are kept up-to-date.”
• More on this story in Friday’s Shetland Times