South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has demanded the Scottish Government stop “dragging its heels” and commit to funding phase 2 of Dumfries Learning Town without delay.
Phase 1 was to overhaul St Joseph’s College and build the new North West Community Campus and The Bridge learning hub, which has been completed.
The second phase – costing nearly £70m – would see Dumfries High School replaced, Dumfries Academy refurbished and Loreburn Primary relocated to the Academy’s Minerva Hall building.
However, a recent Dumfries and Galloway Council submission to the Scottish Government for funding said Dumfries High School is at the “end of life” with “significant and high risk maintenance issues”, while Loreburn Primary, has “significant maintenance issues”.
Colin Smyth said: “Teachers, parents and pupils in Dumfries are being seriously let down by the Scottish Government dragging its heels on funding phase 2 of Dumfries Learning Town.
“And what’s worse is that unless the money is made available soon, the council is going to face huge problems keeping these schools in a safe state. These buildings are no longer fit for purpose and it is very concerning to hear that Dumfries High School has been described as having ‘high risk’ maintenance issues and that Loreburn Primary is also riddled with problems.
“If funding bids are successful, work could start on replacing both Dumfries High and Loreburn Primary in 2023 but the council report has been forced to include contingency plans in case the bid isn’t approved.
“Schools should be safe, secure places where children and young people can fully embrace their learning journeys and that means fit for purpose buildings. This can’t drag on any longer and I am calling on the Scottish Government to approve funding for phase 2 without delay.”