A NEW builder will have to be brought in to finish Cowes Enterprise College as contractor Pihl UK has gone into administration.
And the IW Council, which has appointed a quantity surveyor to ensure the £32m building has been delivered to specification, is gearing up for a possible legal dispute with the administrators.
Economy and environment director Stuart Love said there was no dispute currently but admitted that could change.
He told Wednesday's meeting of the council's children and young people scrutiny panel: "Pihl going into administration does not mean the potential for a dispute has gone away. We have appointed the quantity surveyor because, quite frankly, we are preparing a counter claim.
"We will submit our evidence to the administrator in due course."
The administrator could claim for outstanding money owed to Pihl, but contested by the council, and the council could claim for costs it had incurred to fix snagging problems with the building, said Mr Love.
Responding to questions from Cllr Chris Whitehouse, who described the project as a white elephant, Mr Love said the council shared concerns about the building's energy and maintenance costs. They would be monitored over the next year and, if there was a problem in meeting them, the council would help the school find a solution, he said.
When asked by Cllr Whitehouse what had gone wrong with the project, and who was responsible, Mr Love said it was a matter for members.
"But I do not think we have the resources to have a full investigation and I don't think we should spend time and resources looking backwards.
"The council took the decision to award the contract with the support and advice that was in place. Now we have a contract and procurement management team in place I would like to think things would be done differently," he said.
The contract with Pihl UK will be terminated now the firm had gone into administration and a new contract for the remaining work —predominantly the demolition of the old building — will go out to tender.
Mr Love said: "We have been planning for this eventuality. The final phase is not critical to the school in terms of education. We will try to make it happen as quickly as possible but it is too early to confirm timescales and cost implications. We retain money for the final phase and will say more as soon as we can."