High School costs could be set for a near £6m increase

Moray Council could be set to almost double their £7million commitment to the building of a replacement Elgin High School.

Costs for the £18million project could end up being considerably more with proposals being put to a meeting of the full council today that includes several design changes.

With the Scottish Government committed to £11million for the project these changes would likely need to be met by the local authority itself – and that could see a major hike in their contribution.

Officials are advising Councillors that the current role of 600 pupils at the school could rise to 720 by the end of the decade – and a report prepared for today’s meeting adds that it is not yet clear if the capacity plans for the new school go far enough.

Senior project officer Martine Scott, who authored the report, has pointed to future housing developments as one of the “unforeseen” changes, also seeing any future increase in military families in the region as a possible factor.

Because of this Councillors will be asked to consider ‘tweaking’ the design of the new school for which work is expected to begin in September. Any changes to the design would, however, need to be completed by the end of February.

While Councillors may elect to defer a decision until the result of the current schools estate review is completed in March, Mrs Scott warns that a deferral of their decision could put the Scottish Government funding element in danger as that requires the entire project to be completed before the 2015/16 financial year.

The Elgin High School project has been shrouded in controversy already with project managers Hub North Scotland having already admitted it was four months behind schedule, with their having pledged to get it back on track at a previous meeting.

Options facing Moray Council today include different designs for 720, 800 or 1000 pupils at costs for the Council of between £7million and £12.9million.

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