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Caithness News Bulletins November 2003

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The biggest building project to be undertaken by The Highland Council progressed to the final stage of consideration today when councillors agreed a limit on how much they are prepared to spend on the proposed construction of 11 schools under a second Education Public Private Partnership.

A final decision on the programme, which involves an estimated spending of £100 million phased between 2005-2009, will be taken in the spring of next year following detailed negotiations with the chosen bidder.

Convener Councillor Alison Magee said:  “There is unanimous support for the desire to upgrade our schools. What we were considering today at our special meeting was the affordability of the proposed programme.  We have asked our specialist team to enter into  detailed negotiations with the bidder over the coming months.  A final decision on the affordability of this exciting programme will be made in the spring of next year.”

New secondary schools are proposed at Dingwall Academy, Kinlochleven High School, Millbum Academy, Inverness, and Portree High School. Also planned is the construction of a new school for pupils with special educational needs in Inverness; a new primary school at Inshes, Inverness, and a school for Gaelic Medium pupils in Inverness, as well as new primary schools at Kinlochleven, Cullicudden (amalgamated with Newhall), Culbokie and Cawdor.

Councillors agreed that funding these major projects via the PPP2 Programme was the only way to make serious inroads into a backlog of improvements to school buildings in Highland.

Other worthy projects would proceed more speedily through the Council’s conventional funding route by freeing up space in the programme.