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Councillor calls for more improvements to ageing Aberdeenshire school

Councillor Iris Walker outside Westhill Academy
Councillor Iris Walker outside Westhill Academy

An Aberdeenshire councillor has called for more money to be invested on upgrading an ageing academy.

It comes as Aberdeenshire Council’s Garioch area committee backed a proposal to spend £500,000 on upgrading the windows at Westhill Academy, plus a further £104,500 on its neighbouring swimming pool.

Westhill and district councillor, Iris Walker, said that parents had been in touch with her to complain about the state of the school – in particular its toilets.

The money to resolve the issues with Westhill Academy’s windows, plus the further funding for the swimming pool’s air handling unit, were agreed as part of the council’s 2016-17 planned maintenance programme.

Liberal Democrat councillor, Mrs Walker, said: “The planned upgrade to the air handling unit at Westhill Swimming Pool is welcomed, although this represents a small proportion of the overall £2.5million planned maintenance budget for 2016/17.

“Although I was pleased last year to be able to have new windows for Westhill Academy included in a future programme, I do not want to see this work slip further.

“In 2019, we will be dealing with a 40-year-old school. Ideally, Westhill would be on course to have a new state-of-the-art facility built, but in the meantime, some improvements need to be made.

“Parents frequently bring up issues about the maintenance of Westhill Academy. The windows are either very draughty to the extent of causing uncomfortably low temperatures or have broken catches.”

She added tparents had also complained of toilets being in a state of “disrepair”

Mrs Walker said: “Westhill Academy is a high-achieving school with dedicated staff and although it is the people inside who make it a success, staff and pupils deserve a modern and comfortable learning environment.”

Speaking at yesterday’s committee council spokesman, Brian Duthie, said: “There is quite a substantial list of stuff needing done. This is only one of them that we could say is a high priority.”

He added the local authority was working on improvements to Westhill Academy’s toilet blocks.

It comes after councillors Karen Clark, Jill Webster and Linda Clark called for more to be done to address maintenance issues at Banchory Academy at a meeting of the Marr area committee last week whilst discussing the maintenance programme.

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