New Portobello High School to open three months early
The school was originally expected to open this summer but water drainage issues meant a delay until January next year.
However close liaison between the council’s project team, contractors Balfour Beatty and Scottish Water over the past few months has resulted in the issues being resolved meaning that the school can now open in October.
The new Portobello High will become the council’s largest secondary school with space for 1,400 pupils and will provide state of the art teaching facilities. It will also have both indoor and outdoor sports facilities, including a swimming pool and two all weather pitches, enabling all curricular PE to be provided on site, rather than have pupils bussed off site as currently happens.
The local community will benefit from the new facilities which will be open for community use outside school hours, with local residents able to book the sports pitches free of charge as one of the compensation measures put in place to replace the loss of the park.
In addition, a new £1 million park will be built on the area which will remain on the existing combined Portobello High School and St John’s RC Primary School site after making provision for the necessary increase in the size of the site allocated to the new St John’s RC Primary School.
Cllr Paul Godzik, education convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “I am sure that parents, pupils and staff will be as delighted as I am that we have brought forward the date of the school opening to October.
“Thanks must go to the council’s project team, Balfour Beatty and Scottish Water for working so closely over the past few months to solve the drainage issues and accelerate the school opening.
“The new Portobello High School is looking really impressive and it’s clear this is going to be a fantastic state of the art facility. Rebuilding Portobello High School is one of the Capital Coalition’s highest priorities and we were determined to ensure we met this commitment.”
Stuart Danskin, Balfour Beatty’s project manager, said: “We are delighted that the drainage matters have been resolved and the school can now be opened to pupils three months earlier than expected. Balfour Beatty are extremely proud to be part of what will be an incredible facility for the staff, pupils and local residents of Portobello.”
Bill Elliot, communities team regional manager with Scottish Water, added: “It’s fantastic news for the pupils, parents, teachers and support staff that they will be getting in earlier than expected.
“We are delighted to have played a part in accelerating the process and want to wish them all the very best in the new building, which we hope will be a huge asset to education in that part of Edinburgh for many years to come.”
The new school was given the go ahead after the City of Edinburgh Council successfully took a Private Bill through the Scottish Parliament which changed the status of Portobello Park allowing it to be appropriated for educational purposes.