New Boroughmuir High School delayed for fifth time

The new Boroughmuir High School building under construction

The new Boroughmuir High School building under construction

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THE completion date for the new Boroughmuir High School has slipped for the fifth time.

And parents today warned it would be “disastrous” if any further delay meant the school could not open as planned at the start of the new academic year in August.

Councillors were told an independent review of progress had concluded that the latest revised completion date of April 21 was not realistic but a new date of June 16 – just two weeks before the end of the school session – was “achievable”.

Jacqueline Whymark, chair of Boroughmuir parent council, said it was crucial for staff to be able to get into the new building in June to ensure it was ready for an August start.

She said: “A further slippage would be really detrimental to school morale and the staff’s ability to prepare it for the pupils coming in August.

“It would be disastrous if the headteacher cannot start the new academic year the way he wants.”

Construction work got under way on the £35 million new school on the bank of the Union Canal in Fountainbridge in November 2014 and was originally due to open in August 2016.

But in 2015 it emerged the programme had been delayed by two months due to “challenging” foundation work which had slowed construction.

There was a further delay in February last year because of “adverse weather conditions”.

In September, the date was pushed back again because of the amount of work that remained to be done. An internal memo suggested February 2017 for completion.

But in October it was said construction would finish in April and the opening date was set for August.

Ms Whymark said the council had allowed the slippages to accumulate without considering how it impacted on people trying to do their job at the school. “It makes me really angry,” she said.

Green education spokeswoman Melanie Main said: “This is now the fifth time that the timescale for the new school has slipped.

“And it really is last chance saloon now.

If the revised handover date of June 16 slips then it will be very difficult for school staff to get in before the summer break and prepare the building for opening fully in August.”

Education convener Cammy Day said the latest delay was “extremely disappointing”.

But he said he received weekly briefings on progress and was determined the new completion date would be met.

“I appreciate this will be a concern to parents, as it is to me,” he said.

“We have insisted this must be delivered on time so that when the schools go back in August we expect the new Boroughmuir to be open and fully operational.

“The contractors have got more resources on site; the council is putting project management time in to support that and make sure we get the school no later than the revised timescale.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com