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New future being mapped out for Dumfries schools

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Dumfries and West
New future being mapped out for Dumfries schools

A NEW future is being mapped out for both Dumfries Academy and Loreburn Primary after council chiefs were forced back to the drawing board on multimillion pound redevelopment plans.

Education and property management bosses have revisited initial development options for the schools due to expected Scottish Government match funding not materialising.

And while there is now only half of the £47m they hoped would have been available, the council insists that doing nothing is simply not an option due to the condition of both school buildings.

Five potential options have now been drafted for Loreburn Primary, along with three for an upgrade of Dumfries Academy.

A report will be tabled at the council’s education committee next week where councillors will be asked to approve these potential development options, and give officers the green light to work up detailed proposals for consideration in May.

The report states: “In presenting the future options for development, and recommending next steps to progress the necessary option appraisal, officers have disregarded options on closure or ‘to do nothing’.

“In addition, ‘doing nothing’ is discounted because of the condition of the existing buildings and the associated backlog maintenance burden.”

The options to be presented to councillors for Loreburn Primary next week are:

1) Rebuild on existing site (which was not supported in original consultation).

2) Refurbish school by addressing significant maintenance backlog (also not supported in original consultation).

3) Relocate school in co-location with Dumfries Academy.

4) Relocate and co-locate with another school.

5) Relocate by refurbishing and repurposing an existing building.

Meanwhile, the three options for Dumfries Academy are:

1) Undertake maintenance backlog on a phased basis over several years and reduce building footprint where possible.

2) Accelerate maintenance backlog and reduce building footprint where possible.

3) Full scope refurbishment of the academy buildings and reduce the building footprint, with the potential for co-location.

If councillors are satisfied with these outline options, further work will be done to deliver a professional and technical analysis, and also produce costings.

Around £23m was set aside for Dumfries Academy and Loreburn Primary three years ago, however fresh calculations will have to be done in terms of construction costs due to inflation in recent years.

Meanwhile, the council has committed to addressing “key priority issues in the short term” when it comes to maintenance and safety at both schools.

These include a refurbishment to the toilets at Loreburn Primary and a programme of works at the academy to replace windows to the music building, demolition of a modular building and refurbishments to toilets within the main and Minerva buildings.

These works will be carried during the summer holidays to minimise disruption.

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