Work is expected to start early next year on the £18million replacement of two primary schools in the Borders.
Langlee in Galashiels and Broomlands (Kelso) have long been in the vanguard of a list of schools which are either overcrowded or in poor physical condition, or both.
Scottish Borders Council, however, had not made financial provision for their replacement until at least 2018.
But all that changed last year when the Scottish Government’s capital investment arm, the Scottish Futures Trust, agreed to cover the entire £21million cost of a new Kelso High School. This freed up an unexpected capital balance, allowing the local authority to part-fund and thus accelerate the replacement of Langlee and Broomlands.
A condition of the windfall is that both new schools are up and running by April 2017 – at least three years ahead of schedule. The council, which has already appointed a design team for both projects, is this week seeking expressions of interest from contractors for construction and delivery.
Potential bidders have until August 17 to respond, with invitations to tender due to be sent to shortlisted firms from September 21.
The current Langlee school, which began life as Wester Langlee in 1958, accommodates 250 primary and nursery pupils.
Its £10million replacement will be spread over three floors with a gross internal floor area of 4,100sqm and will incorporate a nursery, primary teaching rooms, additional support teaching areas, games hall, catering kitchen, multi-use games area and staff accommodation areas.
Apart from the additional support areas, the same specifications and requirements will apply to Broomlands which will be built over two floors and have a floor area of 3,200sqm.
The cost of replacing 285-pupil Broomlands, built in 1980, is estimated at £8million.
A council spokesman said: “It is anticipated each development will be built alongside the existing schools which will be in occupation during the construction period. Once completed and the schools are transferred, the original buildings will be demolished to make way for landscaping and car parking.”