Duncan Place Resource Centre is likely to be demolished after an investigation revealed that it would cost £3.5m to repair the building and bring it up to modern accessibility standards.
The news comes weeks after the officials were forced to close the building, making 49 community groups homeless and forcing the primary school to start using a nearby church hall on Duke Street for PE. Perhaps the largest impact has been on the children who attended the nursery there. They have all been forced to move to new nurseries – increasing pressure on other local nursery schools.
Officials are now in the process of trying to construct new temporary facilities in the school playground to house the nursery school. According to a report to be considered by councillors next week, this could allow the number of nursery places to rise from 20 to 30, and be ready for February 2015.
However parents at Leith Primary School are unimpressed, pointing out that Primary ones will be forced to do P.E. in their classrooms for their entire first year at the school, whilst the new facilities will take up valuable space in an already small playground.
The process has raised many questions by those affected by the mismanagement of Duncan Place Resource Centre.
Many see the emergency closure of Duncan Place Resource Centre, and the subsequent disruption as a clear indication, at best, of a malfunctioning estates management department.
Those with long memories could be forgiven for taking a more cynical view that the closure on Health and Safety grounds is a result of a deliberate underinvestment in the centre by education officials.
Afterall, in 2010 there were plenty of people who believed officials had this agenda, and there had been attempts to close the centre before then which provoked people to march in the streets to save it.
More practically, a parent with a child at the school told Greener Leith that they couldn’t understand why part of St Andrew’s Place could not be closed to traffic and the temporary facilities built there. This would save the playground, whilst giving the nursery children easy access to nearby Leith Links.
Whatever happens next, officials concede in their report that they have no idea how much it will cost to build a new nursery and gym hall that are needed on the site. Given the council must find £138m of savings in the coming years people could be forgiven for wondering how ‘temporary’ the new temporary facilities are likely to be.
The only people who do well out of the whole sorry mess are the Unitarian Church on Duke Street who are set to make £8300 per annum for the hire of their hall for P2-P7 P.E.
You can read the full council report here.