Wednesday 22 November 2017

School refurbishment to cost £5million more - for less

Tuesday 14 November 2017

School refurbishment to cost £5million more - for less

It's emerged that the cost of revamping Grainville school has gone up by £5million, even though plans have been significantly scaled back, including chopping out a music centre complex.

Grainville has been undergoing continuous redevelopment since 1991, but is now entering the fifth and final step of that process.

Originally forecast at around £10million, ‘Grainville Phase 5’ will now have £4million and £1.3million extra injected into its budget in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

But although more money is going in, part of the plan has been taken out - a new facility for the Jersey Music Service, which provides music lessons, as well as orchestral and band opportunities to over 1,000 young musicians.

They were due an upgrade from their current rehearsal space at Fort Regent, which had previously been criticised for its, “...shortage in rehearsal and performance space, persistent dampness, a lack of storage facilities for musical instruments and personal belongings, and safeguarding concerns with regard to toilet facilities."

Pictured: The current Grainville School. (Google Maps)

The premises are also separate from the Music Service’s headquarters at Mont Cantel.

Original plans for a modernised Grainville promised to unite the two in a new or refurbished build on the school’s campus.

Those proposals were scrapped, however, following a feasibility study which the Treasury say identified “additional cost and complication”, throwing the Music Service’s future headquarters into question.

During a hearing last week, the Corporate Services Scrutiny Panel grilled the Treasury team over the issue. Panel Chairman Deputy John Le Fondré questioned why the public was getting “less for more."

Alison Rogers, Director of Financial Planning, explained that there were some “issues” with the site that were not anticipated, leaving the Music Service without a home. Treasurer Richard Bell added that it wasn’t “preferable” to build schools in phases due to inflation hitting during the delay between the original bid and the detailed feasibility study.

Grainville isn’t the only school to suffer higher costs, however. Les Quennevais saw it’s final construction price also pushed up by £5million - it now stands in excess of £45million.

This was said to be driven by Planning arrangements, but also down to the rising cost of construction.

Deputy Le Fondré expressed concern that the costs had escalated so much, given that the team behind the schools had worked on similar projects “for a number of years” and that “inflation isn’t new.”

Video: A fly-through of plans for the new Les Quennevais School.

Deputy Simon Bree added: “One can only hope that the proposed future hospital costs don’t increase by the same amount, Minister.”

Express has contacted the Jersey Music Service for comment and is awaiting a response.

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