At its meeting last night (Thursday 23 September), the Council committed over £30 million pounds to three new primary school projects - building a new Balmuildy Primary School in Bishopbriggs and the full refurbishment of both Bearsden Primary School and Milngavie Primary School.
Joint Council Leader Andrew Polson was delighted at the decision, saying, “This is fantastic news for East Dunbartonshire. Our schools have an exceptional reputation and this significant investment in excellent, fit for purpose, and modern learning environments for our young people is absolutely wonderful. It will ensure that they have the very best start in their education journey and that our teachers and support staff have the very best of facilities to support them in that journey.”
The three projects were developed following the ongoing review of the condition, suitability and sufficiency data of the Council’s education estate, which identified that there was a pressing requirement to take more significant action at these locations.
Joint Council Leader Vaughan Moody explained, “We have an ongoing capital fund for the maintenance and upgrade of our schools, but on closer inspection, the cost and decant requirements for the works required at these three schools highlighted that wider considerations were needed.
“New schools were considered for all three locations, but only Balmuildy has the space for a tandem build replacement. With no alternative sites available in the catchment areas for Bearsden Primary School and Milngavie Primary School, these full refurbishments with full decants of the school to undertake the works, provides the very best solution for retaining schools in the heart of these communities.”
The new Balmuildy Primary School is estimated to cost £11.8 million and will take 30 months to build. This includes 12 months for the engagement with the school community, design, appointment of contractor and preliminary works, ahead of an 18 month construction period. On completion of the new school, a second phase of construction will see the demolition of the old school and the development of the grounds and landscaping.
Milngavie Primary School's full refurbishment will cost an estimated £7.7 million and will require a full decant of pupils to temporary accommodation for a minimum of 39 weeks for the construction period. This will include full replacement of key aspects of the building fabric, such as roofs, windows, doors, and flooring. It will also include new mechanical, electrical and plumbing infrastructure, a new sustainable heating system and redecoration throughout.
Bearsden Primary School's full refurbishment will also include these key aspects and additionally includes the demolition of the existing stand-alone dining and games hall, to be replaced with a modern fit for purpose facility that meets the future needs of the school. The refurbishment will cost an estimated £11 million and require a full decant of the school to alternative temporary accommodation for a minimum of 45 weeks for the works to be carried out.
The budgeted costs of these three projects will be incorporated in a full update of the Council’s 10 year capital investment plan, and grant funding will also be sought from a future phase of the Scottish Government Learning Estate Improvement Funding (LEIP) programme, where energy consumption is a key consideration in the funding criteria.
Councillor Polson added, “The nature of these three projects, incorporating energy efficiency and sustainable heating solutions, ensures we are moving away from dependence on fossil fuels in line with our commitment to address the climate emergency and will also ensure they are eligible for LEIP funding.”
Engagement will now begin with the three school communities, with works on the new build Balmuildy Primary School anticipated to begin in May 2022, with the new school building completed in winter 2024.