Mar 16 2012 by Stuart Wilson, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
BLUNDERING council chiefs have made a £450,000 cock-up as they bid to build a new village school.
Red-faced officers confessed their plan to build on top of a mains water supply – because they didn’t know it was there.
And they now face a costly re-design of the school, which will send the bill soaring by 25 per cent.
Stunned councillors learned of the mistake at a meeting of their leadership panel on Tuesday morning.
The council’s schools spokesman, Brian McInroy, was forced to come cap in hand and ask for the extra cash to keep the project at Kirkmichael on track.
He admitted: “Since the council initially approved the building of the new school, a number of significant challenges have been presented.
“Namely, these centre around the groundworks of the site and additional drainage that will be required.
“The main water supply to the village runs across the school site and this has restricted design options. Surface water drainage issues require to be addressed and the existing retaining wall will need replaced.”
Mr McInroy outlined that sprinklers will also have to be installed, along with a biomass boiler to meet a host of renewable energy targets.
The cost of the project will now rise to £2.3 million and be propped up by the schools refurbishment budget.
But Mr McInroy soon faced a rough ride from councillors, who demanded to know how such a huge blunder had been made.
Conservative Hywel Davies, who has responsibility for schools, said: “It’s quite clear that we have to spend this money to get the school completed.
“But surely someone has to put their hand up and say they forgot about something so obvious as the water main running through the village.
“It’s unfair to ask architects to tender for jobs if we cannot do our own homework.”
And SNP group leader, Nan McFarlane, added: “If this kind of thing is cropping up now that we didn’t know about then what else could be waiting around the corner for us?”
Mr McInroy, who revealed that the school has had to be “squeezed and relocated” as a result of the revelation, insisted the mistake was an easy one to make.
He said: “Plans are not entirely accurate sometimes and, in this case, it wasn’t clear that the water mains was there.”