The redevelopment of Monfieth High School will remain a priority even if a bid for Scottish Government funding is rejected, council officials have confirmed.
At a meeting of Angus Council today, councillors agreed to recommendations that a replacement Monifieth High School would continue as the current priority project – despite concerns over possible funding problems.
To fund the project, a bid has been made to the Scottish Futures Trust – the public body responsible for infrastructure investment. A decision is expected before the end of the year.
However, concerns have been raised over what the local authority planned to do if their funding bid is not successful.
Councillor Sheila Hands, who represents the Monifieth and Sidlaw ward, said: “I’ve had a look at the schools which have been funded over the past year and a straight secondary school wasn’t one of them.
“So can I ask what the plan B is if it doesn’t receive funding, does Monifieth go to the back of the queue?
“We can’t continue as it is. We need a solution to this and I just want to know what is being considered as the plan B.”
Councillor Beth Whiteside, who also represents the ward, added: “Are there things that we don’t know about this bid that would make it more attractive to the Scottish Future’s Trust?
“Particularly because of the high figures involved, it seems to be a really big number if you compare it to Forfar.
“There’s no mention of this being a community campus with the same sort of facilities that Forfar has, so is there something we don’t know about yet?”
Kelly McIntosh, director of education and lifelong learning at Angus Council, reassured councillors that the Monifieth redevelopment would not be put on the back burner.
She said: “We hope to hear before the end of this year whether our bid is successful or not.
“If our bid is not successful, then my team will again go back and look at all of the documentation from previous reports to see what next steps can be put in place.
“Our priority will continue to be Monifieth because of the state of the school is in at the moment, both in condition, suitability and capacity.”
She added: “Forfar Community Campus was costed eight years and I know when you look at the raw figures they look much more, the costs are actually comparable.”
Refurbishment still on the cards
A recent building survey carried out on the existing school by construction company Thomson Gray found that inefficient heating systems, limited accessibility and poor ventilation are among the problems.
Refurbishment and expansion remain under consideration but could cost up to £5 million.
This, Councillor Kenny Braes argued, meant a “modern, fit for purpose school” would be the best option.
He said: “I was a regular visitor to Brechin High School prior to the lockdown and I have also had occasion to visit Monifieth High School.
“The difference between the two learning environments is quite stark. I realise that other schools across Angus have similar situations but Monifieth is the one that seems to have the biggest problems at the moment.
“The sooner the pupils there can get the benefit of a modern, fit for purpose school the better.”