School faces £1m storm repair bill

There is internal damage too
There is internal damage too
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STORM damage that resulted in a major roof collapse at a school for children with special needs will cost almost £1 million to repair.

Up to 60 per cent of the roof at Kaimes Special School was ripped off during the storms earlier this month, causing severe internal damage to the building and the playground.

The council now faces a repair bill of around £950,000.

A total of 54 secondary pupils have had to be moved into a temporary school – the former Fort Primary in Leith – while work to repair the damage is carried out.

This work is expected to take until Easter to complete, with the senior pupils remaining at the temporary school – dubbed Fort Kaimes – until then.

Despite the extent of the damage to the Gracemount school, headteacher Kath Togneri said the situation could have been a lot worse as the majority of the equipment and resources were saved by the council workers who were first on the scene following the roof collapse on January 3.

They removed teaching materials, books, furniture and interactive white boards from classrooms and stored them in a part of the building that was still covered.

Ms Togneri received a call during the Christmas holidays to tell her about the damage, with the caller saying there had been “a wee bit of damage to the roof”.

She said: “The roof collapsed during the holidays so luckily there was no-one around.

“The first people on the site saw the damage that was being done and moved everything so we haven’t lost as much as we anticipated.

“There were nine classes and the library and the guys moved all of the library so that the books and furniture were saved.

“Almost all of the teachers’ materials have been saved.

“The guys that came in also took the interactive white boards off the walls, which has saved thousands of pounds.

“When I went into the building it was soaking wet so they must have got to it just in time.

“We have lost some things, though, like soft furniture, which has been ruined, and the contents of cupboards.

“Also, the roof fell on a climbing wall and wobbly bridge in the playground.”

She added: “It was quite sad to wander round that building and see it empty. We have said the school will reopen at Easter, but it depends on how long it takes to fix the roof.”

Kaimes School provides primary and secondary education for 96 pupils with additional support needs, most of whom have autism, which is why it was so important that a lot of the materials were saved.

Ms Togneri said: “The people who saved the things probably didn’t even realise the impact it would have.”