24th May 2019
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Anderson High School delay rumours scotched by council

A move has been made to scotch rumours the new Anderson High School has been hampered by last-minute delays.

Members of the council’s education and families committee have been told fears that the school and hall of residence are falling behind are unfounded.

Education officials have repeatedly insisted that the major new development is on schedule and within budget.

Earlier this month it emerged pupils who are due to move into the new Clickimin site stand to enjoy extra holidays in October, following approval from the Scottish government.

The hold-up will allow teachers and staff to move supplies across from the old site at the Knab.

But speaking at Monday’s meeting, religious representative, Martin Tregonning, raised concerns highlighted through the “Shetland rumour mill” that not all was going to plan.

Children's services director Helen Budge.

SIC director of children’s services Helen Budge gave assurances over the new AHS.

He told the council’s director of children’s services, Helen Budge, that some folk had formed the impression the extra days was actually because of a “major delay” in reaching completion.

“I wanted to ask if you can take the opportunity to tell us, categorically, that it is going well and on time.”

Mrs Budge replied: “I hadn’t heard quite as much as that.”

She added the first two days of the extra holidays in October would allow staff and transport operators to move all necessary supplies and equipment to the new school, with the – perhaps daunting – task of unpacking the stuff taking place at the other end of the extended break.

“That’s normal procedure. There are no disasters attributed to that at all,” she added.

Papers before members showed the school and hall of residence to be 95 per cent complete, and likely to meet – or even exceed – its target.

Mrs Budge said works were under way on the landscaping and final preparations, with contractor Morrison Construction confident the 7th September hand-over date was “achievable”.

A final core-team meeting is due to take place this week, and snagging issues are now being dealt with.

“We are very, very close to being finished,” Mrs Budge added.

She added there was spare time between the planned hand-over date from the contractor to the local authority and the October holidays.

“There is a degree of flexibility between those two dates,” she said.

Discussions on the high school were among the first to be held in the town hall chamber room, which is open to council meetings once again following the works to repair stained glass window and damaged stonework.

Along with Mr Tregonning, Tom McIntyre has also returned as one of the committee’s three religious representatives.

Chairman George Smith told members at the beginning of the meeting that a vacancy still existed for the third post, which was previously taken by Radina Mackay.

He also said he hoped Shetland’s two MSYPs would be able to join the committee, as observers, in the future.

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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  1. Damien Ristori

    It would be better at this stage to make sure the building is completely safe and water tight.

    Why not simply postpone the opening of the school until after Christmas to allow more time for all contractors and building standards team to be sure all is shipshape for the eventual opening?

    • Robert Sim

      Presumably because there is no need.

    • Christopher Johnston

      The building was pronounced water tight before last Christmas, as published in The Times.
      SIC seems in face-saving mode, as in the White House debacle. Hence the line in the sand.


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