A topping-out ceremony has today (24 January 2019) been held to mark a key milestone in the construction of the new £40m Queensferry High School.
Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills John Swinney visited and poured a final piece of concrete on the top floor, marking significant progress on the school’s build with work having started on site eight months ago.
The City of Edinburgh Council school will have many facilities which are easily accessible to the public including the multi-purpose assembly space with retractable seating that can be used for drama shows and film screenings. Similarly, areas like dining, CDT, food tech and art have been positioned so they can be easily accessed by the community for out of hours classes for maximum use of all these areas.
The plans also incorporate a sports hall and a new six-lane swimming pool – increased in size from four lanes after taking into account community feedback. Externally there will be a new full-sized 3G pitch for football within the site and access to a full-sized 3G pitch for rugby and football (off-site) as well a sprint area, long jump, shot put provision, rounders pitch and three hard play spaces marked out for basketball/netball.
The new school will be built on the current school’s playing fields and, following completion, the old school will be demolished, with the area landscaped and a new pitch created on the site.
During today’s site visit, the Deputy First Minister was welcomed by Cllr Alison Dickie, Vice Convener of Education, Children and Families, as well as the school’s headteacher John Wood, pupils from each year group, the Council’s development partner Hub South East, and main contractor, Morrison Construction.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “The City of Edinburgh Council’s continued investment in their school estate, in partnership with the Scottish Government and Scottish Futures Trust, will provide generations to come of learners, teachers and parents with modern, fit-for-purpose, low-carbon facilities that they can be proud of.
“I am pleased that the Scottish Government was able to provide over £21 million towards the construction of Queensferry Community High School and I look forward to visiting the school once it is complete.”
Councillor Ian Perry, Convener for Education, Children and Families at the City of Edinburgh Council, said:
“The replacement Queensferry High is really progressing well and I’m sure the pupils and staff can’t wait for it to open its doors next year. It will provide much-needed community facilities and many of the areas will be easily accessible to the public which I’m sure they will be delighted with.
“This will be the fourth new high school in as many years and we have six more high schools in our £207m Wave 4 programme for replacement as we look to provide the very best learning environment for our young people.”
Councillor Alison Dickie, Vice Convener, said:
“The new school is a great example of how we are innovatively building schools for the future to support greater accessibility and inclusion for all young people. The learning support and guidance suite has been purposely designed with direct input from specialist staff and the interior environment, in terms of lighting and acoustics, furniture and decoration have been designed to accommodate pupils with a wide range of needs. We will continue to develop our designs for future school projects so they meet our inclusion aspirations and provide a much more inclusive environment promoting greater health and wellbeing.
“It was really positive to hear how the contractors are engaging with pupils, especially females, at the school to encourage real-life learning skills and showing them the opportunities for careers in the construction industry. The building of this fantastic school is literally opening up doors for new career paths that our young people may never have considered previously.”
Roddy Clark, Hub South East’s Projects Director, said:
“We’re delighted to have welcomed the Deputy First Minister and guests along to mark such an important milestone in the new Queensferry High School’s construction. It really is taking shape and is set to be a fantastic, modern learning space for pupils and staff.
“Hub South East is keen to bring innovative ideas and added value to the projects we deliver and today we were particularly proud to showcase the new school’s low carbon design. Ultimately this will not only satisfy increasing environmental targets but it should have a beneficial effect on the learning environment and educational attainment for its young people.”
Morrison Construction, Operation’s Director, David Wilson said:
‘‘We are delighted to host Deputy First Minister John Swinney and members of the City of Edinburgh Council on site today as we celebrate this exciting project milestone in Queensferry.
‘‘Good progress has been made on-site since our guests last visited. The upper floor concrete works are now complete with the external enveloping works now underway. The site team is due to begin the internal fit for the education facility in March. Morrison Construction’s community benefits programme has so far enabled more than 600 pupils and 60 college students visit the site to learn about our industry and the opportunities it offers. Local pupils, college students and young people in pre-employment programmes have also completed 60 days of work placement on site.”
Work on site is progressing well and is on schedule to be handed over in Spring 2020.