New Primary School for Drumoak

Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee has agreed that it would like to see a two court hall/community facility at the new primary school to be built in Drumoak to replace the existing school. The matter was discussed at the meeting of the Committee held on Tuesday. Councillors agreed to recommend to the Policy and Resources Committee the scheme design for the new school. The new primary school will have capacity of 145 with core facilities for a possible future expansion to 170. There will also be nursery provision.

Sustainability has been a key consideration in the design of this school and attainment of the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method “Very Good” rating has been targeted as a minimum standard with the project aiming for an “Excellent” rating. In an effort to utilise renewable energy sources, south facing roofs will accommodate arrays of photovoltaic panels with electricity generated, but not consumed on-site, being sold to the National Grid by contractual agreement. In line with Council policy on fuel choice, the development will be heated using biomass and the emphasis will be on fuel being manufactured and delivered from local sources.

The estimated costs for the baseline costs of the school have increased to £7.4M. This is because the Education, Learning and Leisure service have requested some additional space including a catering kitchen and because of the photovoltaic panels. However, this panels will generate an income with a payback time of about nine and a half years. The additional expenditure to provide a two court hall will likely be up to £450,000.

Speaking at the meeting of the Area Committee, Peter Bellarby, Councillor for Stonehaven and Lower Deeside, said:

“The present primary school at Drumoak is dreadful. Why is it dreadful? It is not because of the staff, who do a really good job in difficult circumstances. It is because of the state of the building. There is water dripping down the inside of walls. There is temporary accommodation in portacabins at the other side of the playground with no toilets there. Children have to cross the playground whatever the weather to access the toilets. The school is grossly over capacity. There is a clear need to have a replacement school.

“We, the Council and Councillors, have listened to the community in the past. Concerns were expressed at the original choice of site which parents thought was too close to an electricity sub-station. So we moved the site away from the sub-station. There was a clearly expressed wish to have the school constructed as soon as possible. And that’s what we agreed the last time the new school was considered by this Committee. We added to the officers’ recommendations that the school should be constructed as soon as practicable.

“We need to listen to the community again and respond positively to the clearly expressed wish that there should be a two court rather than a one court hall. There are some additional reasons to support having a two court hall. One is the standards for new primary schools that were agreed to at the last meeting of the Educational, Learning and Leisure Committee. These standards include having a two court hall for a school size over 145. There is also the present dilapidated community hall, presently unused. I propose that the Committee instruct officers to commence the process of disposing of this. The community are quite happy to see this. The proceeds can go to the Council’s capital fund.”

The proposals will be finally decided at the meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee to be held on November 15.

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