Budgets approved to replace and refurbish Midlothian schools

Budgets approved to replace and refurbish Midlothian schools

Midlothian Council has approved the budgets to replace Beeslack Community High School, including offering Additional Support Needs facilities, and to refurbish Penicuik High.

The replacement for Beeslack Community High School will have a swimming pool, pavilion and community facilities.

At the full Council meeting last week, a majority of councillors voted in favour of an amendment proposed by council leader Councillor Kelly Parry. The amendment included a call for the new school to include the facilities.

Capital costs of the project to replace Beeslack Community High School and to offer Additional Support Needs Provision within the campus, will now be £92.740 million for which an element of the borrowing costs are funded by the Scottish Government over a 25-year period.

A further £44.701m will be spent on upgrading Penicuik High.

Councillors also agreed Penicuik High pupils will be decanted to Montgomery Park opposite the current school during the refurbishment.

Midlothian Council’s cabinet member for education, Councillor Ellen Scott said: “These are exciting and transformational projects for the area that must be delivered by 2026 to avoid the risk of losing funding secured through the Scottish Government’s Learning Estate Investment Programme.

“Agreeing the budgets now therefore is a key milestone that will ensure we are on track to meet our funding commitments to deliver this high-quality, state-of-the-art learning spaces.

“The swimming pool, pavilion and community facilities will be warmly welcomed  and well used by local people.”

Councillors also noted the progress made in finalising the agreement to buy the Beeslack replacement site with the University of Edinburgh.

With capacity for up to 1600 pupils, the Beeslack replacement school will be a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) Centre of Excellence. It will offer a high-quality, inspiring learning environment, where pupils can take advantage of the STEM expertise on its doorstep. Easter Bush is a world-leading research and innovation campus specialising in animal biosciences, agritech, veterinary medicine and medicine.

New Additional Support Needs (ASN) provision will have capacity for up to 40 young people with severe and medically complex needs. ASN facilities will include a hydrotherapy pool, sensory garden, suitable changing facilities and accessible playground equipment and space.

The refurbished, energy-efficient Penicuik High School will have places for 945 pupils in a high quality, fit for purpose learning environment, with expanded dining, community and sports facilities.  It will also be able to support 24 pupils with Additional Support Needs, double the numbers it can currently accommodate.

Cllr Scott said the council will now work closely with parents/carers, staff, pupils, partner agencies and the wider community to take forward these projects.

A statutory consultation on relocating Beeslack CHS, establishing an ASN provision and the creation of the school’s catchment area will get underway at the start of the new academic session.

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