Councillors to discuss new Peebles High School building

Elected members will be asked to approve proposals for a complete £46m rebuild of Peebles High School on Thursday during the full meeting of Scottish Borders Council.

By Kevin Janiak
Monday, 25th January 2021, 2:16 pm
Updated Monday, 25th January 2021, 2:19 pm
Council leader Shona Haslam with councillor Carol Hamilton, executive member for children and young people, pictured at Peebles High School as the section damaged by the fire in 2019 is cleared of debris.
Council leader Shona Haslam with councillor Carol Hamilton, executive member for children and young people, pictured at Peebles High School as the section damaged by the fire in 2019 is cleared of debris.

The proposal follows a feasibility study examining the benefits, cost and timescales of a full new-build of the school as opposed to a part-rebuild of the facilities damaged and destroyed in the 2019 fire.

Councillors will be given an update on the plans, and will consider the rebuild being part of the council’s 2021/22 capital plan.

Officers claim a full-rebuild would reduce the overall construction time of the project by 16 months and significantly reduce the disruption to pupils throughout the process, and the construction would take only 24 months to complete.

Councillor Carol Hamilton, executive member for children and young people, said: “Access to high-quality learning and educational facilities for our young learners will always be a priority for Scottish Borders Council and I’m encouraged to see the swift progress we’ve made in reaching this proposal.

“After carefully considering both options for rebuilding Peebles High School, it has become evidently clear that the complete rebuild of the school will present significant savings in time and minimise the disruption to pupils and staff throughout the process.

“The full rebuild will allow us to offer a modern, environmentally sustainable learning environment to the benefit of Peebles and the surrounding area.

“Further engagement with the local community is vital for this project and full consultations will be taking place in due course to ensure all voices are heard.”

The initial study has found that there is sufficient land within the existing school boundary to accommodate the construction of a new school building, while retaining the existing school buildings during the construction period, however, external playing facilities would be lost.

Additional work undertaken during the multi-million-pound project would include the diversion of a water main, full external landscaping, supplementary car parking and the installation of a 3G sports pitch to complement the existing unaffected sports block built in 2013/14 and 2G playing field.

The temporary classrooms put in place following the November 2019 fire would remain in use throughout the construction period. Upon completion of the new building, pupils would be transferred to the new facility, allowing for the remaining old buildings to be demolished.

Once rebuilt, it’s claimed the school will meet present-day standards for energy consumption and air quality, requirements to meet eligibility criteria for Scottish Government funding.

The Scottish Government’s Learning Estate Investment Programme (LEIP), will provide financial support over the next 25 years for the running costs of the school.

After Thursday’s meeting, a consultation process will then start within the local community to enable full stakeholder engagement on the plans.