Edinburgh councilors say soaring construction costs must not jeopardize new Currie High School building

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Inflation, supply chain issues and labor shortages have driven up prices in the construction industry and fears have also been raised over a possible delay in the completion date school in 2024.

Pentland Hills SNP councilor Neil Gardiner won cross-party support for a motion in full council, asking for an update on the plan from the education committee and insisting there should be no have no reduction in the standard of the building.

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When detailed plans for the new school were unveiled in February 2021, it was touted as the most energy-efficient secondary school in Scotland, thanks to the ‘Passivhaus’ environmental standard it would meet, minimizing its carbon footprint and reducing energy consumption considerably.

Councilor Gardiner said, “I was pleased that my motion was approved by council. It was intended to address community concerns about the scope of the new school. Unfortunately, there are currently labor and material shortages in the UK, linked to Brexit and the pandemic, which is driving construction price inflation to 11%.

“My motion called for an update on the new school addressing key principles – that it should be built without reduction to state-of-the-art educational and community facilities, including the swimming pool; that the school is built to achieve the Passivhaus standard, which is internationally recognized and certified, reducing ongoing energy running costs – very important to all of us at this time – and also contributing to Edinburgh’s carbon reduction targets; and that there is no impact on the existing quality of education, facilities and development of learning materials for those currently attending the existing school.

He said that since the new school would function as a cornerstone of the community for generations to come, it was important that quality was not compromised.

The new Currie High School is expected to be completed in 2024.

“Renovation costs are significantly higher than building it right the first time. The community has been widely consulted, teaching staff have worked with designers and specialists are on board, ensuring environmental aspects are considered from first principles.

“The Scottish Government has recognized the importance of this project and has provided financial support. With current inflation it is important that there are no undue delays in contract negotiations.

“I hope that we can all support the timely delivery of this school to the highest educational, community and environmental standards as an endorsement of our youth, the community and to fight the carbon emissions of our town.”

Education manager Joan Griffiths said she recognizes the community may be concerned about possible delays. “But I want to reassure them that we are still working towards a 2024 completion date for the new Currie High School. It is a difficult time for the construction sector worldwide due to the impact of the pandemic, but a confirmed date for the school will be agreed as part of final contract negotiations with the preferred contractor next month. .

“The new Currie High School is a really exciting project for the Council as it will be the first Passivhaus secondary school in Scotland and is part of our planned investment of £500 million over the next decade to create a learning area of first class and ensure all of our children have the best possible learning environment in which to thrive.

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