2013 date for new school after 'unacceptable' delays

By a County Press reporter

Friday, November 16, 2012


2013 date for new school after 'unacceptable' delays

Workers outside the art room at the new Cowes Enterprise College earlier this month. Picture by Jennifer Burton.

FOLLOWING a series of delays and setbacks, it was announced yesterday (Thursday) the new Cowes Enterprise College building will not be ready until the spring — a full six months after the £32m complex was due to open.

Isle of Wight Council chief executive Steve Beynon issued a letter to parents apologising for the continued delay, which he admitted was unacceptable.

He said: "I recognise this situation has caused much frustration and practical challenges for parents, pupils, staff and governors and I want to reassure you we are seeking to resolve these issues as quickly as possible.

"While this delay is deeply regrettable, it provides a more realistic timetable to for the work and the transfer to the new site to be completed and puts and end to the ongoing uncertainty for all concerned."

When the council awarded the contract to build the new school to construction firm Pihl UK, it gave an opening date of September this year.

But construction of the complex — hailed as a modern, bespoke learning environment powered by its own renewable energy centre — has been hit by repeated delays since the summer, when wet weather hampered building work.

The opening date has been pushed back several times and large parts of the building remain unfinished.

Mr Beynon today admitted previous deadlines — including one of December 3, given just last week — had proved to be optimistic.

He said: "We will be scrutinising this project in detail to understand the reasons why this has happened. There is no doubt this is a unique, major and complex building project and that setbacks due to the particular poor summer have hindered the work but, having delivered other school projects successfully either on, or ahead of, time, we need to fully understand why this project has suffered such setbacks.

"In the meantime the council will intensify efforts to ensure the building is completed to the agreed high specification and standard while the school can continue to provide quality education to pupils in the old building."

Cowes Enterprise College principal Jonathan Russell said: "Naturally we are disappointed not to have been in the building on schedule but, as we have said before, the most important thing is that the process is not rushed. The building needs to be completely ready for occupation and staff and pupils will need the required time to familiarise themselves with this vast and innovative new school building.

"We would urge the council to continue its efforts to get the building back on track and support us while we remain in the existing building."


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Displaying the last 10 of 11 comments - Show All Comments

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by Neil Rogers

17th November 2012, at 12:23:45

Kevin / Alan / Nick ... surely " the bubbles ". on the wall .. are really the brain cells used to project manage this ..

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by Nicky Cherry

17th November 2012, at 08:32:20

Who was the project manager on this, and when wil his/her head roll!?!

Would it be too much to assume that there were clauses in the contract stipulating fines levied for delays...?

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by alan naylor

17th November 2012, at 00:20:51

Ho kevin froment Im so glad you have told me Ijust hope they d ont light up at night

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by Paul Mellon

16th November 2012, at 20:43:41

Its worth looking at this building in the flesh as it does not look like the model or the artists impression! The walls are just grey concrete and when it rains they turn black! when the model has them as white!
I would like to nominate it as the replacement for the TRICORN centre and the Imax in Bournemouth. as the ugliest building in the uk
In its defence I am sure the inside will be spectacular, I just hope the locals get a guided tour for all the hassle we have had to put up with !
Its also just as well it has its own renewable energy centre as the lights are on 24/7 now!

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by kevin froment

16th November 2012, at 14:01:03

they represent the complete balls up the council have made of this whole project, roll on may when we can hopefully get rid of some of them

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by alan naylor

16th November 2012, at 13:23:23

Lets hope the roof d ont go rusty like the hospital that cost the tax payer an arm and a leg and what upon earth are those round balls on the wall and what do they represent

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by Jake Gully

16th November 2012, at 13:16:02

Absolutely - though stop blaming the summer weather, it was well behind schedule in spring and everyone accept the Council seems to have been aware. There were plenty of warning signs for even the casual observer with no site access - with a project of this scale/budget the council should have been closely monitoring the project.

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by Pam Riddet

16th November 2012, at 12:21:06

It had to go to the Chief Executive to get a (hopefully) more realistic deadline!

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by T Rollingsworth

16th November 2012, at 12:11:22

It's a council project, of course it was delayed.

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by Gary Ball

16th November 2012, at 11:47:06

This is completely unacceptable and makes the Council look foolish and naive. Anyone who has spoken to any of the contractors working on the site at any time since August has been told that the school would not be ready until next year, they knew it, the parents knew it and yet is seems the people who should have known it didn't have a clue - hard to believe. The children are now suffering, despite assurances to the contrary, as equipment and other important items have already been moved to the new building. This issue shows not only how gullible the Council is but that they seem to believe the children and parents are as daft as they - we are not and someone should lose their job over this, any volunteers?

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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