Boroughmuir High School facing third construction delay

New Boroughmuir High School under construction. Picture: Ian Georgeson
New Boroughmuir High School under construction. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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FEARS have been raised that the opening of the new Boroughmuir High School could be delayed – for a third time.

Education bosses have raised concerns that plans to finish the £35 million replacement campus by January are now “at risk”, due to the amount of work still to be completed on site.

Opening of the new school, beside the Union Canal in Fountainbridge, has already been pushed back twice before – with building work delayed again over the summer.

In an internal briefing note, Alistair Gaw, acting executive director of communities and families, told city councillors: “As of September 8, 2016, the contractor maintains that [opening by January] is still achievable.”

But he added: “However, the project team has some concern about the amount of works on site still to complete in the remaining period thus placing completion in January at risk.”

He said the position “should be much clearer in a few weeks”, with city bosses meeting to “review the situation” on October 13.

They will then make a final decision on whether pupils will be able to move in on January 9 – or whether opening will have to be pushed back until February.

The news comes just days after Nicola Sturgeon toured the Boroughmuir construction site as she announced education will be “at the heart” of government plans.

Youngsters were originally due to move in to the new school last month. It emerged in June last year, however, that the opening had been 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” over winter.

Local Green councillor Gavin Corbett said the council needed to provide clarity to pupils as soon as possible.

He added: “And, once the project is done and dusted, the council needs to reflect on lessons learned. This has been the contractor’s first experience of building a school in Scotland.

“The given reasons for delays – poor ground conditions and high winds last winter – seem arguable. This is an old industrial site and it is Scotland, after all.”

Cllr Jason Rust, Edinburgh’s Tory education spokesman, said: “The sooner we can get more certainty, the better for the pupils, staff and parents.”

OHMG, the Northern Irish contractor building the school, was unable to comment.

City education leader Cllr Paul Godzik said: “Despite the delays to the building everyone can be assured that the new Boroughmuir High School will provide a fantastic teaching and learning environment to continue the school’s first-class academic track record.”