Repairs are half cost of new school

Seaham School of Technology
Seaham School of Technology
0
Have your say

A SCHOOL which missed out on a replacement due to Government cuts is facing a £7.5million repair bill – almost half the cost of a new building.

Seaham School of Technology was due to move sites and be given a £16million base under the Building Schools for the Future scheme.

However, it missed out when the Coalition Government axed the national programme last year.

Now an assessment has found £7.5million-worth of work is needed on the crumbling Burnhall Drive site, to bring it up to standard.

Durham County Council said it is looking at “all possible options” to find the most cost-effective way of dealing with the maintenance and repair issues.

Easington MP Grahame Morris has lobbied the Government to take action.

“The cost of repairs is much higher than we originally thought,” he said. “We thought it was in the region of £3.5million.

“This just strengthens the case for a replacement school.”

He added: “The survey has identified quite considerable repairs are needed, not just to an electrical substation, but to the structural fabric of the building.

“Everything will be done to make sure the school is safe for pupils, but in terms of making an economic case for a replacement, this shows how expensive the repairs will be.

“I think you would have to go some way to finding a school that’s in a worse state.

“There’s an increasing school roll, and the fact is it’s the only school serving Seaham.”

The school could not be reached for comment because of the half-term break, but Mr Morris said he believes the council’s capital working group will discuss its case in coming weeks.

In addition to concerns about the state of the existing buildings, pupils also have to cross Lord Byron’s Walk, a 40mph road, to reach sports fields.

Mr Morris has previously taken the Government to task about the decision to scrap the plans, which would have seen it move to the former Seaham Colliery site, raising it with education minister Michael Gove.

A petition is being gathered at his office at the Glebe Centre, in Murton, and will close on Friday, June 10.

@EchoEastDurham

l What do you think? Let us know your views. Contact details – Page 8