At Tuesday’s meeting of Dumfries and Galloway Council, acting education director Gillian Brydson said they will be guided by contractors Graham and facilitator Hub South West as to the opening date of the North West Community Campus, which closed earlier this month after a catalogue of disasters.
And when asked if pupils and staff will be able to return to the £28m development, pictured, before Christmas, she said: “We are planning for and hoping for the best, that has always been our modus operandi. Plan B is getting to the end of October holidays. We are planning in case of any eventuality and will be ready to respond.”
Meanwhile, councillors were incredulous to hear that 1200 defects have been uncovered, of which 50 are high risk. Property services manager Paul McCulloch told the meeting a team are now going round the school “room by room, corridor by corridor” checking fixtures and fittings, while the contractors are drawing up a detailed plan of remedial action.
And council chief executive Gavin Stevenson says he will demand 100 per cent assurances this time before the school is allowed to reopen. He said: “There’s an issue not just about handing the building back as though nothing happened, we have political and reputational issues to be addressed. We would not accept it until every i and t is dotted and crossed, then we have the building we paid for
“The building must have no recognisable faults to members of the public if we wish to have their confidence. That’s why this is not just about normal snagging, we have to provide assurance to every staff member and parent that this is the building they should have had some months ago. We need a building that is close to perfect as it can possibly get. It needs to be child tested, safety is the number one issue. We have children that deserve the best educational opportunities.”
He added: “Our next meeting with Hub South West and Graham will be very robust.”
Commenting, North West Dumfries Councillor David McKie said: “It’s an absolute disgrace. We need to ensure that all the information is made public, we do not want to hide anything with regards the North West Community Campus.”