Council Should Be Pleased With New School, Says Chief Executive

New Five Islands School, due to open in September

The Council should be pleased that it has delivered the new school ahead of time and on budget, says Chief Executive, Philip Hygate.

Philip told Tuesday’s full Council meeting that 15 months ago, some Councillors predicted the project would not succeed adding that the finished project would be an achievement anywhere, but “particularly in our context with 30 miles of sea between us and the mainland.”

Councillors heard that the budget for the whole project was £16.6 million and by 19th July £11.6 million had been spent.

Philip said they’d soon be handing over the school to governors and children and that it would serve the community for up to 50 years, saying that was longer than the natural life of anybody in the Council chamber, which brought some bemused looks from younger Council officers present.

Dudley Mumford told members that education was an issue close to islanders. The role of the Dorrien-Smith family in establishing schooling in Scilly marked a long tradition.

But Chairman Mike Hicks expressed sadness that the Council had not been asked to participate in the end of term service and Amanda Martin echoed that by saying it would have been nice to have had a ceremony.

The Chief Executive told Councillors that he’s pleased the new school fits so well into the landscape. And the sports hall does too. He described it as “a garish building” but sports halls are “difficult to make pretty” something they’ve effectively done “by hiding it”, Philip said.

The Diocese of Truro’s legal team only agreed the terms of the 35 year lease on the whole of the Carn Gwavel site on 25th July.

Interior of new school at Carn Gwaval

Kier Western, the builders, have been keen to liaise with the community and the Considerate Constructors scheme has scored their efforts as 36.5 out of 40, which is in the top 10% of all construction schemes.

Richard Hand Haulage provided the only quotation for moving items from the old bases to the new school. It’ll cost around £16,300, which is higher than the original estimate of £13,500. This is because some kit has to be moved twice, firstly from the old primary base and then to a holding area before it gets moved into the new classrooms.

Headteacher Bryce Wilby says the move to the new site is a mammoth and complex operation. There are 20-30 rooms of equipment, furniture and books that need to be packed and moved from the two existing sites.

Bryce added that there’s also major work underway to test and train on the new school systems and hi tech equipment.

100 men are finishing off the school build and there’s plenty of work to do before the school is handed over on 29th August. The sports hall, changing rooms and stores will be handed over on October 3rd.


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