Bigger and better community campus

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Plans for the Brechin community campus came under the spotlight of Angus Council’s neighbourhood services committee last week - when members heard how it will be bigger and better thanks to a cash boost from Angus Council.

Councillors were informed that the project would be completed around December 2014, with migration taking place over the Christmas holiday period.

Demolition of the old school would be completed by mid-September 2015 – around six months later than original expectations.

As previously reported, the Scottish Government changed the source of their funding support for this project from capital to revenue funding.

Despite this, Angus Council has been assured by the Scottish Government/Scottish Futures Trust officials that this change will not impact in terms of the quality, time-scale or financial implications of the project.

An analysis has been undertaken to determine the scope of facilities needed and deliverable within the allocated budget.

The scope of the community campus would include keys aspects as follows:-

Core school accommodation with facilities to support curriculum for excellence; vocational learning facilities to accommodate Angus College courses; enhanced performance space; enhanced swimming pool facilities, with particular emphasis on increasing the swimming pool size to support competitions (e.g. 25m length); enhanced school library to provide a campus learning resource centre; an informal internet café style area. Within this scope, a floodlit synthetic sports pitch would not be deliverable within the identified funding.

Also, other than the enhanced swimming pool, all other sports facilities would be replaced with their existing size criteria, reducing the opportunity to for wider community sports and recreational use, alongside the enhanced community learning facilities and improved new swimming pool complex during the school day.

It has therefore been decided to adopt the enhanced community campus scope.

Additional keys aspects which could be accommodated within the enhanced community campus are as follows:-

External full size synthetic sports pitch; games hall, gym hall, dance studio and equipment stores all to sportscotland standard; fitness suite, sauna/steam room; GP room, staff accommodations (for neighbourhood services leisure division); and additional changing accommodation

This scope would, however, cost an additional £2 million taking the overall cost up to £26 million.

It was noted that out-run costs for the project to replace the Montrose swimming pool were £1 million lower than the council’s financial plan budget allowance.

Additionally sportscotland has approved a £1 million grant award for the council which, when utilised towards the Montrose swimming pool project, results in a further £1 million reduction compared to Angus Council’s original capital allocation. It is hoped that grant funding of £14m will come from the Scottish Government with Angus Council and sportscotland meeting the further £12m.

A number of school and community events will now be held in due course, to convey the latest project information as well as undertaking further consultation/engagement with school staff, pupils and the wider Brechin community.

Education convener Peter Nield said: “I am delighted that the council has agreed to provide additional funding to provide enhanced facilities at the proposed new Brechin High School campus, which will benefit pupils and the wider community.

“We will continue to work closely with the Scottish Government and private sector development partners, as well as the local community to bring this exciting project to fruition.”