‘No threat’ to swimming pool at new Moray secondary school… For now

The new high school in Lossiemouth is expected to be open in 2020.
The new high school in Lossiemouth is expected to be open in 2020.

Council bosses responsible for building Moray’s next secondary school have insisted there is “no threat” to the project’s swimming pool.

Designers are currently battling to try and get plans for the replacement for Lossiemouth High School within a £36million budget.

Moray Council has already committed an extra £900,000 to keep the swimming pool as part of the plans.

And yesterday Graham Jarvis, the council’s head of lifelong learning, culture and sport, revealed the authority may have to ask the Scottish Government for yet more cash.

Estimates for building the school currently fluctuate between £37million and £40million due to complications with sandy ground.

However, despite Mr Jarvis stressing final plans for the complex, which include the pool as well as library, community centre and artificial football pitch, are due to be submitted this week, calls were made yesterday to consider cutting facilities.

Frank Brown, depute chairman of the authority’s children and young people’s committee, said: “I’m sure the Scottish Government will be very generous with extra funding – but there is considerable potential for them to say this is something Moray Council will have to cover.

“The alternative is that we will have to trim back the facilities to get it back to the £36million target.

“There’s the 3G football pitch and the swimming pool which could be taken out.

“If we can’t afford the full cost then we will have to undertake some sort of review to bring it down to what’s affordable.”

At yesterday’s meeting of the council’s sustainable education sub-committee Laurence Findlay, the director for education and social care, explained it was “early days” to remove elements of the school.

He said: “When we were building the new Elgin High School the financial picture changed day to day while negotiations went back and forward.

“We will do everything we can to deliver everything we said we will.

“If we are still in the same situation in February then we might come back with some difficult decisions, if we need to make them.”

The new Lossiemouth High School will have a capacity of 800 pupils and is expected to be completed in March 2020.

Meanwhile, council officials have insisted they are “confident” the proposed Linkwood Primary School in the south of Elgin will be open on time.

Fears had been raised the July 2019 completion date could fall back due to issues with the ownership of the land.