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10/06/2024

Next Stage Of £35m St Kentigern's Academy Works Set To Begin

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West Lothian Council has welcomed the progress being made on building work at St Kentigern's Academy with the next stage of the £35 million project set to be given the green light.

A major project to remove RAAC and asbestos, and re-build a significant proportion of the school began last year. Over 62% of the existing school is having to be demolished with a new building expected to reopen in 2026. St Kentigern's is one of the area's largest schools and has remained open throughout the works.

Next week, Council Executive is being asked to approve the next stage of works that will cover the construction of a new car park, substructure and steel frame. The council has already allocated £20 million of its own funding to the project, and is seeking additional support from the Scottish Government to bridge the remaining gap. In total, the project is expected to cost £35 million. It is hoped that the project will be complete by June 2026 with a new replacement building in place.

Dr Elaine Cook, Depute Chief Executive of West Lothian Council said: "The project stage to safely remove the RAAC roof panels and asbestos has now been completed and it is imperative that construction works can continue to undertake the new car park works, so it is available for use when the school returns for the start of the new academic term in August 2024.

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"Good progress has been made in what continues to be challenging circumstances for the council and the school community.  Complex construction phasing is required that takes into account the site constraints, ensuring that disruption for the pupils and staff is kept to a minimal.

"Whilst we're looking at the short and long term, the project will result in a much improved education facility once the construction phase is complete and the new building is fully operational."

Elaine Cook added: "RAAC has caused significant issues across Scotland and West Lothian Council has taken a proactive approach to repairing schools and community facilities to date, but this has come at a significant cost and has required very substantial council resources to be used for RAAC."

RAAC is a material used in construction in many buildings between the 1960s and 1990s. Its presence has been confirmed in a range of public sector properties across the United Kingdom including schools and hospitals.

In total, West Lothian Council has five schools with RAAC and estimate there will be a cost of £69.6 million associated with repairing all schools affected by RAAC. With the exception of one primary school project, all the work to date has been funded by West Lothian Council.

The next stage of the development work at St Kentigern's Academy is subject to planning permission being granted.

Various mechanical and electrical services that are required to run the pool at St Kentigern's had to be removed due to the presence of RAAC, including all neighbouring and adjoining buildings. Therefore the swimming pool area had to be removed. The council has set aside space for a replacement pool facility should adequate funding from the Scottish Government be made available.

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