The boss of the construction company behind a delay-hit £48.5million school and community campus in Wick said yesterday the firm was working closely with the client and partners to “get the job done”.
Bill Hocking, chief executive of construction and investments at Galliford Try, owner of Scottish builder Morrison Construction, refused to say exactly why the school was not opening this autumn as planned.
Commercial interests prevented him discussing the delays in detail, he said, adding: “These jobs are complex and challenges can arise during construction.
“We are working closely with the client and with Hub North to get the job done”.
Parents have urged First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to order a probe into the problems at Wick’s new secondary school, which was initially earmarked for completion in 2014 but will not open until next year.
Highland council chiefs have criticised the performance of the developer, Aberdeen-based public private partnership Hub North Scotland.
Wick Community Campus is one of a string of school projects Morrison is involved in across the north and north-east.
The firm built the new £34million Inverness Royal Academy, which opened on time just last month.
Morrison’s work on the new Anderson High School and halls of residence in Lerwick is the biggest capital project ever undertaken by Shetland Islands Council.
The company is also the main contractor behind plans for a new Oban High School.
Work in other sectors includes the new Inchmore salmon hatchery, in Glenmoriston, for Marine Harvest Scotland.
Mr Hocking was speaking after results from Galliford Try showed a surge in profits during the year to June 30.
Pre-tax profits rose to a record £135million, from £114million a year earlier, thanks to better margins at the company’s Linden Homes housebuilding subsidiary and a management restructure “creating the right platform for future progress”.
Group revenue increased to nearly £2.5billion, from £2.35billion previously.
Chief executive Peter Truscott said: “Reflecting the delivery of record results and our continuing confidence in the business, we are proposing an increase in our full-year dividend of 21%.
“The decision to leave the European Union inevitably creates a backdrop of uncertainty for the new financial year.
“However, we have been encouraged by visitor levels and sales rates at Linden Homes through the summer.
“The balance of our businesses and the strength of our order books mean that we are well-placed to manage the impact of this uncertainty.”