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Work ongoing to ensure school safety

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By Marc
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Work ongoing to ensure school safety

PROGRESS is being made with major remedial works to ensure four schools in Dumfries and Galloway are safe for pupils and staff.

Construction works to support potentially dangerous concrete panels at Laurieknowe, Carrutherstown, and Gatehouse primaries, as well as Dumfries Academy has been underway for several months.

The reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) has been linked to the collapse of a primary school roof in Kent and forced the closure of more than 100 schools in England.

Councillors will get an update on the investment in these schools at Dumfries and Galloway Council’s finance committee next Tuesday.

A report produced for the meeting confirmed that Laurieknowe Primary in Dumfries requires more extensive repairs.

It states: “This building has the highest prevalence of RAAC and works are now underway to replace a number of panels. In addition to this, an enhanced monitoring and inspections regime is being adopted.

“This work is being undertaken in collaboration with education colleagues to limit disruption to the school.”

The concerning panels within Carrutherstown Primary in Dumfries are said to be in “good condition”. The report states: “Work was undertaken within the October break to introduce additional end bearing support to panels.

“In addition to this an enhanced monitoring and inspections regime is being adopted. Any additional works necessary will be scheduled over a further holiday period.”

At Gatehouse Primary and Dumfries Academy, works are being planned over the next three months to introduce additional support to a small number of panels within each school.

The report explained: “This work will be undertaken in collaboration with education colleagues to limit disruption.”

Council finance chiefs say that it is too early to provide accurate costs for the unexpected remedial works, but the bill is expected to be “circa £500,000.”

Speaking about the works when the situation first arose several months ago, council leader Gail Macgregor said: “Our council is taking a proactive approach to this developing situation.

“In all cases we are guided by the advice of our expert structural engineers as we work to tackle the incidence of RAAC panels in our schools as quickly as we can while minimising disruption to pupils, parents and staff.”

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