Capital schools prepare for long-awaited £6m revamp

WORK is set to begin on a £6 million revamp of two city primary schools.

Construction is due to get under way on the overcrowded Towerbank and Corstorphine primaries this summer.

And in May, work will start on a new £2.4m children’s respite centre in Portobello after seven years of delays.

The extensions of both primaries, which are expected to be opened by summer 2013, were approved by councillors in October. Towerbank will get a new three-storey extension and a new nursery with space for 40 children at a time.

Children there have lost their library and music rooms to cope with accommodation pressures.

The £4m proposals were given the go-ahead despite concerns over the height of the extension, overdevelopment, “poor quality” of design, parking problems and road safety.

At Corstorphine, a two- storey extension will be built to the rear of the school, creating space for extra classrooms, dining and general purpose space – at a cost of £2m.

Its pupils have been forced to sit through lessons in “poor quality” temporary accommodation as the school struggles to meet the demands of its catchment area.

Both schools will remain open throughout the work but with reduced playground areas.

Meanwhile, the Seaview Children’s Respite Centre, which is currently based in unsuitable premises in Portobello, will be recreated on the site of the old Lismore Primary. It is expected to be open by May 2013.

The facility will provide short breaks for young people with a range of learning and physical disabilities, as well as offering a care-at-home service.

It will cater for up to 60 children and their families – an increase on current numbers – and will provide a living and sleeping area and a specially designed sensory garden.

Councillors will be asked to approve the start of the work for all three projects at a meeting on Tuesday.

City education leader Marilyne MacLaren said: “I’m delighted that, at long last, all three are now going to get built.

“It’s been a long haul and, with Seaview, the issue was finding a site as well as the money. The closure of Lismore opened up that window of opportunity.

“In terms of the two extensions, staff have been struggling with capacity issues and so I know it will mean a great deal to get their new extensions.”