‘Sacrifices’ to help pay for £50m plan
School: Cuts essential to ensure flagship project happens
The leader of Perth and Kinross Council said that “sacrifices” need to be made to pay for a £50 million redevelopment of Perth High School.
The replacement project will become a top priority for the Tory-led administration at budget talks next week, it has emerged.
But funding for other major projects will need to be cut to help pay for it.
Around £5 million could be slashed from the long-running PH20 project, leaving its future in doubt.
And proposals to build new primary schools at Oudenarde and Pitlochry are also being shelved.
Council boss Murray Lyle said: “Perth High School is the biggest capital project that this administration will enter into and we have had to make sacrifices elsewhere to make it happen.”
Council bosses are poised to rubber stamp a £50 million plan to replace the region’s biggest school.
Ageing Perth High will be rebuilt as part of a major five-year project, The Courier can reveal.
The plan is expected to be given the green light at Perth and Kinross Council capital budget talks next week.
However, funding for other major projects will have to be slashed to help pay for the redevelopment.
These include the long-standing PH20 project to revamp Perth Leisure Pool.
Plans for a new school at Oudenarde and a replacement primary at Pitlochry are also likely to be shelved.
Council bosses intend to push ahead with a new recreation centre at Blairgowrie but its budget could be cut by £3 million.
Perth High, which has a roll of 1,600, dates back to the 1960s and its condition was rated as “poor” in a survey of school estates.
Council leader Murray Lyle said: “This is the biggest capital project that this administration will enter into and we have had to make sacrifices elsewhere to make it happen.”
We just didn’t want to leave this until much longer. We don’t want to wait until we are at the cliff edge and we end up having to close the building
“Our officers have recommended to us that Perth High School is in a poor condition and it has probably gone beyond its life expectancy.
“It’s not just the infrastructure of the building, it’s the design too. The school has very narrow corridors which cause congestion between classes. Also, there are no communal areas that are fit for purpose.”
He said there was room in the school grounds for the new building, meaning that the school would not have to be closed during construction.
“We also wanted to avoid decanting pupils to another school,” said Mr Lyle.
“We just didn’t want to leave this until much longer. We don’t want to wait until we are at the cliff edge and we end up having to close the building.”
Mr Lyle said he did not want to borrow more money for the project.
“We had hoped that we would get some funding from the Scottish Futures Trust (part of the Scottish Government). We have been in dialogue with them, but there has been an indication that we aren’t going to get funding from them.”
Meanwhile, work is ongoing at the city’s £32.5 million Bertha Park school. The 1,100-capacity building is due to open next year.
Down £5 million: The PH20 project to replace Perth Leisure Pool has been impacted by Perth High.