£35 million Capital school delayed for a fourth time

Boroughmuir High School under construction. Picture; Ian Georgeson
Boroughmuir High School under construction. Picture; Ian Georgeson
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THE opening of the new Boroughmuir High School has been pushed back to August 2017 – more than a year later than initially expected.

Political figures said they were “astonished” at the latest in a string of delays to hit the £35 million replacement campus, which is being built beside the Union Canal in Fountainbridge.

And council bosses confirmed they would be chasing Northern Irish contractor OHMG for compensation.

Councillor Paul Godzik, the city’s education leader, said: “This is understandably disappointing news for the whole school community and we certainly share their frustration at this fresh delay.

“We have made clear our displeasure at the way the project has progressed to date and will be seeking compensation in line with the terms of the contract.”

Bosses said construction of the school would finish in April 2017, but pupils and staff would not move into the new facility until after the summer to avoid any disruption in the run-up to exams.

Youngsters were originally due to move in during August 2015. It emerged in June last year, however, that the opening would be delayed by two months after “challenging” foundation work slowed construction.

And earlier this year, that date was pushed back again because of “adverse weather conditions” during the winter.

The News revealed last month that council bosses were considering delaying its opening for a third time, with an internal memo earmarking February as a possible finish date.

But as late as September 8, contractor OHMG was still insisting that opening by January was achievable.

Cllr Melanie Main, Green education spokeswoman, said: “The first priority for any new school building has to be that it is safe and fit for purpose on day one. And I don’t doubt that officers have come to the right conclusion to delay the opening – now for the fourth time.

“However, I am astonished at how this has been handled. The contractor appointed is building a school in Scotland for the first time and, it appears, has really struggled with ground conditions and weather – things that could and should have been anticipated.

“There has been an increasing sense of excitement in the school community about the move so it is really disappointing to see yet more delay. After the dust has settled, lessons need to be learned.”

Cllr Jason Rust, Tory education spokesman, said: “It’s obviously really disappointing that it’s going to be a year further on than initially envisioned.

A spokesman for OHMG said the “unfortunate delay” was “caused by a number of unforeseen circumstances”, but added: “We are confident ­Edinburgh will take delivery of a magnificent new educational facility in April next year.”

A spokesman for O’Hare & McGovern, the company behind the construction of the school said: “The unfortunate delay was caused by a number of unforeseen circumstances, but we are confident Edinburgh will take delivery of a magnificent new educational facility in April next year.”

alistair.grant@jpress.co.uk