Dance studio tribute to Keane Wallis-Bennett

Keane Wallis-Bennett, 12, died when an unstable wall at Liberton High School fell on her while she was dressing for PE. Picture: Contributed
Keane Wallis-Bennett, 12, died when an unstable wall at Liberton High School fell on her while she was dressing for PE. Picture: Contributed
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A DANCE studio is to built in honour of Keane Wallis-Bennett at her former school as part of plans which will see the gym hall where she died demolished.

Dancing was one of the 12-year-old Liberton High pupil’s passions and the £150,000 studio will help to keep her spirit alive by providing her former classmates with high-class facilities.

The gym hall where a wall collapsed, crushing her to death, in April, is to be bulldozed and a £2.5 million extension built on the main PE block to provide replacement sports space. A memorial to Keane is also to be created in the school although details of what it will be are yet to be decided.

It was the “overwhelming view” of teachers and parents following extensive consultation that the gym be taken down in time for the start of the new school year.

Councillor Paul Godzik, education leader, said: “We have obviously had a number of meetings with the school community – we have listened to parents.

“We have had that dialogue and we feel that the appropriate action now is to move forward with demolition of the gym. We will outline details of the reprovision of the PE facilities in August but we have had very constructive discussions with the Scottish Government and these discussions are ongoing.

“We do want to work together, both to consider the consequences of the tragedy at Liberton and respond to them.”

Moves to bulldoze the gym block come after Cllr Godzik teamed up with the SNP’s Jim Eadie, MSP for Edinburgh Southern, and Labour’s Ian Murray, MP for Edinburgh South, to present a “united front” to the Scottish Government in a joint bid for funding to repair crumbling schools and prevent a repeat of the Liberton High tragedy.

As a Health and Safety Executive-led probe into April’s incident continues, the three politicians have welcomed concrete measures aimed at helping pupils and staff move on.

Mr Murray said: “We are pleased that the council is taking immediate action to resolve the issue at the school and I will continue to work with the parent council, teachers and pupils to identify what’s needed in the longer term.

“We continue to work together on a non-political basis to find a solution – it’s the least we can do for everyone connected, not just for Liberton but also those in the wider school community.

“The whole school community is pulling in the same direction and trying to do the best for the school. They’re doing some fantastic stuff at the school just now.”

He added: “These are positive steps forward but there’s still a lot of work to do.”

The plans for the new dance studio and replacement PE facilities are expected to be rubber-stamped by the council tomorrow.