South Scotland

£80m Dumfries schools scheme could face revision

Dumfries High School Image copyright Google
Image caption Phase two of the project would see a new campus built at Dumfries High School

A council is being advised to consider revising the second phase of plans for a major overhaul of schools.

The £80m scheme was meant to see two new campuses and a primary school built in Dumfries.

However, councillors will be told the fiscal climate has become "significantly more challenging" with no progress made in securing funding.

They are now being asked to consider an options appraisal which could see the proposals revamped.

The first phase of the Dumfries Learning Town project - to overhaul St Joseph's College and build the new North West Community Campus and The Bridge learning hub - has been completed.

Phase two was supposed to see two new campuses built - one including Dumfries High School and Noblehill Primary with the other seeing Dumfries Academy redeveloped and Loreburn Primary relocated to the site.

A new Laurieknowe nursery and primary was also planned at a total cost estimated at £80m.


Analysis: By Giancarlo Rinaldi, BBC Scotland news website south of Scotland reporter

Image copyright Rose and Trev Clough
Image caption Dumfries Academy is also included in the current second phase plans

The passage of time affects us all and the Dumfries Learning Town project is no different.

It was meant to deliver four state-of-the-art secondary schools for the town, a learning hub and new primaries.

Phase one was not without its issues - especially at the North West Community Campus and The Bridge - but is now in place.

However, question marks surfaced some time ago about securing funding for the second stage.

This latest report spells out the dilemma facing the local authority.

It now has to decide whether to press on with its initial proposals or adapt them - potentially dropping some schemes - in order to have a greater chance of funding success.


Image copyright Google
Image caption A new Laurieknowe Primary is contained in the £80m second phase scheme

However, a report to councillors said it had proved "challenging" to develop a clear plan for delivering the project.

It also warned that there was now an emphasis on taking pupils out of buildings which were in the worst condition and only Dumfries High School would meet that criterion.

In light of this the council is being advised to update its cost estimate for the scheme.

It is also being asked to agree an option appraisal exercise to decide whether or not to amend its plans for the future of education in the town.

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