Community leaders have welcomed the news that the delayed £35 million project to replace Newbattle High School is now back on track.
The building work, due to start nine months ago, was on hold because of a European Union accounting issue regarding hub projects. However, the Scottish Government has announced that the issue has now been resolved.
Mayfield and Easthouses Community Council chairman Robert Hogg said: “I’m absolutely delighted. It’s good news, after the long delay.
“They will probably not start work until February/ March due to the winter weather. I think it would therefore be finished by Autumn 2017. So the current P6 kids in Gorebridge, Mayfield and Newtongrange will be the first to go to the new school.
“Once we see the bulldozers go in we will know it’s a reality. It’s good for pupils, but also good for the community as it’s not just a school but a community hub for everyone.”
Newtongrange Community Council chairman Jason Ferry said: “I’m pleased that the future of the school pupils has been sorted out. Because obviously their continued education is the priority.
“And we will see what happens with the other aspects. We are assured that the delay will not have an adverse effect on the new school. So hopefully they can get back on track and get the new school up and running as soon a possible.”
Councillor Bob Constable, the cabinet member for education (SNP), said: “This is obviously fantastic news, an early Christmas present and a huge relief to all of us frustrated by the delay.
“Our officers are now working with our development partner Hub South East, along with the Scottish Futures Trust to work out the finer contractual details, with the aim of getting on site as quickly as possible.”
Midlothian North MSP Colin Beattie (SNP), said: “After so many months of uncertainty, I’m sure that the news of this project proceeding has come as a great relief to many of the people of Midlothian, as it has to me. The new campus at Newbattle High will provide the students in our community with an excellent, modern facility in which they can learn and grow to their highest potential. I am so glad that we are one step closer to completing a project that will bring so much good to our community.”
As well as a state of the art high school, Newbattle Centre will include a new library, gym, swimming pool and a range of community facilities. The new building will sit in the playing fields adjacent to the current building.
No official start date for construction work to begin has been announced yet.