The potential cost of a brand new Monifieth High School has come under scrutiny after it was revealed it could reach as high as £50 million if approved.
At at meeting of Angus Council’s Children and Learning committee, questions were raised over the projected cost of the new campus after a report detailed the project could cost up to £10 million more than the new Forfar Community Campus, which opened in 2017.
Councillor Bill Duff, who represents the Montrose and District ward, said: “Your paper quotes the cost of Forfar at £34.7 million. Can we get an explanation as to why it is so much more expensive than the Forfar school?
“I assume the cost includes the demolition of the current Monifieth High School?”
In response to the questions raised over the potential cost, strategic resources director Mark Armstrong pointed to the time elapsed between the Forfar and Monifieth projects.
He said: “The obvious initial response is the time delay between the two projects and the general cost of inflation over that period.
“We have the context of the pandemic and having to revise some of our projections and similarly some of the standards required now from the Scottish Government, particularly around energy efficiency and aspects around green development.”
Report author, support services manager Beth Reader added: “We will bring that information back as part of a full report.”
A decision on the local authority’s request for Scottish Government funding for the project is due next month, having been delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The refurbishment and expansion of the existing building remain under consideration but council officials believe a new build is the more viable option.
A more detailed report on the potential new school is due to go before councillors next month, however the initial update presented to the committee detailed that it could cost up to £5 million to carry out the required maintenance on the current building.
Inefficient heating systems, limited accessibility and poor ventilation are among the problems at the current school, which was built in the 1970’s.
Angus Council is projecting the new build Monifieth High School could be completed by Summer 2025.
No dates were provided in the committee report for any potential public consultation on the proposals, however councillors urged members of the community to have their say.
Councillor Ben Lawrie said: “This is a very encouraging paper to read and Monifieth does need a new high school.
“I hope that we can build something that is eco-friendly, accessible and provides an optimal learning space whilst also serving the needs of the wider community.
“Local engagement will be vital and I urge all residents of Monifieth and Sidlaw to make their voices heard when this goes to consultation.”
Further details of any public consultation on the plans could be detailed in next month’s report.
Beth Reader added: “A formal statutory consultation isn’t required but we will be doing community engagement and consultation.
“We don’t have the detail or timeline for that yet but the plan is that we will be bringing a full report to committee in December which I would be hoping to map out some of the firmer details.”