School site ‘will lack capacity’

FEARS have been raised over the size of a proposed new school on the former Fountain Brewery site.

A public consultation was launched in February proposing either a new Boroughmuir High School at Fountainbridge, or the refurbishment and extension of the existing building at Viewforth.

The majority of people said they preferred the new-build option at Fountainbridge but the school’s parent council believes the site will be too small, with the new school not offering enough places for pupils. Education Scotland also expressed concerns about the size of the site in its response to the consultation.

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The parent council will make a formal deputation to the full council at a meeting on Thursday. It will highlight three main areas of concern – the inadequacy of the proposed capacity of 1150, the detrimental impact of the site layout and a lack of space for outdoor sports facilities.

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It is now urging the council to consider the possibility of the new school using Harrison Park East for outdoor sports facilities.

The deputation claims that, under current proposals, the new school will be over-capacity from day one. They say the proposed 1150 places at the new school will not be enough, with the current roll sitting at 1136 and the August 2012 roll projected to be at least 1163.

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The deputation, which was signed off by parent council chair Stew Green, said: “This makes a mockery of the council’s intention to alleviate the overcrowding problems. We urge the council to find additional resources to increase the planned maximum capacity of the school to 1200.”

Safety concerns have also been raised by the parent council and Education Scotland regarding the narrowness of Viewforth as the access route to the Fountainbridge site. Dr Scott Arthur, whose 13-year-old daughter Ruth will start third year at Boroughmuir in August, said: “The city council claim that the recent consultation showed that the majority of parents support a move to a new school in Fountainbridge. However, they fail to note that the majority said they thought the site was undersized.”

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Councillors will be asked to approve the new multi-million-pound school, which will feature a seven-a-side rooftop all-weather pitch or multi-use games area, at Thursday’s meeting.

The parent council has also underlined that the current plans would create a split-site school located across a planned park. The deputation urges the council to commit a larger area of land to the project and relocate the public park area to sit alongside the canal.

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City education leader Paul Godzik said: “We are currently exploring a number of options for maximising the outdoor space the new location offers.”