Go-ahead for £16.6m new Borders school – but £5.4m health centre facing delay
Members of the full council will this week be recommended to sanction the conclusion of the contract with Hub South East Scotland Ltd to allow the new Earlston Primary School project to proceed to construction.
But in the light of increased costs for an adjoining health centre that formed part of a planning application approved last year, a final decision on that element of the project now needs to be considered by the Board of NHS Borders, which is to look its “affordability, time-scales and resultant funding sources”.
A report to full council adds: “To minimise disruption to the existing primary school; ensure that there is no adverse impact on the school curriculum; minimise build time-scales; and avoid further inflationary cost pressures, it is important to proceed with the primary school build at this stage. The design of the building is such that a phased construction can be undertaken.”
The report states that NHS Borders “remain committed to delivering the new health centre”, adding: “But as a result of higher than forecast tender returns, they need to take through their governance process with an updated assessment on funding, affordability and time-scales.
“Having reviewed the options available to both organisations, it is proposal that construction will be phased, beginning with the primary school, early years and community space.
“A phased construction will minimise disruption to the existing primary school; ensure that there is no adverse impact on the school curriculum; minimise build time-scales; and avoid further inflationary cost pressures on that element of the building.
“While the overall plans for the primary school and health centre areenclosed within a single building, the two functions are quite separate witha mutual boundary running through the building. This enables a cleanseparation and phased construction, with only a minor adjustment to forma new external wall.
“The health centre will be constructed separately, at a later date, once NHS Borders have concluded their governance process. This will have a minimal impact on what will be an operational school. To clarify, the phased delivery of the primary school, early years and community space does not prevent the future provision or construction of the health centre.”