Construction of the new Elgin High School is on track to start next March, councillors were told yesterday.
Members of Moray Council’s children and young persons committee were also informed that a £1.5million shortfall exists between the funding committed to the project and the estimated costs.
Although work is scheduled to start on site next year, a detailed agreement concerning vehicle access to the school has still to be reached with the council’s roads officials.
Graham Jarvis, the council’s head of lifelong learning, sport and culture said that the Edgar Road extension – part of the Western Link Road development that was refused planning consent earlier this month – would be required to provide safe access to the new school.
“As things stand we only have access to the site through residential areas, and at school times this would create huge traffic problems,” he said.
“Add to that the significant construction traffic and it’s clear that this would be totally unacceptable.
“Although the planning application for the school has been submitted along with one for the Edgar Road extension, there are still issues to be resolved with the council as roads authority.
“The project team are meeting with planning and roads staff tomorrow to resolve these.”
Based on industry figures, costs for the new high school planned for Elgin are currently estimated at £26.1million, but this would rise if the project is delayed.
Councillors were also advised that the timescale to deliver the school is becoming increasingly tight following delays in the early stages of the design process, and that any further delay will lead to monthly inflation costs of £100k being added to the total.
Two years ago the council engaged Hub North Scotland Ltd (hubCo) as the company to design and deliver the school. As a result of delays at this stage, the chief executive of hubCo attended a meeting of the full council and apologised to the authority for the unexplained delays.
Since then council officers and hubCo staff have been working successfully to bring the project back on schedule.
The complex funding package for the 800-pupil school is dependent on the project being delivered on time. The current programme is on target to start in March 2015 and be ready for occupation by the new October term 2016. Thereafter the old school will be demolished and a new 3G sports pitch created by May 2017.