Seriously impressed at the new Portobello High School which is entering the final phase of construction. The council and contractors are now confident that the school will be ready to move in for the half term break in October – and from what I saw today they look like they are on schedule.
Big thanks to Stuart Danskin from the main contractor Balfour Beatty who took time out to show me round the building. It’s massive – you’ve got no idea how big as you look in from Milton Road. Stuart’s in charge of an operation that had more than 150 workers on site the when I visited – and has had over 200 at one time.
According to my steps app we walked over 2 km around corridors on the three floors. There’s 78 classrooms all fitted out with massive touch screens for presentations and sliding white board for a lower tech approach. The science and ICT rooms are state of the art.
And we also saw the kitchens and massive open plan eating area, the assembly hall which doubles as a theatre space for 650, the newly tiled swimming pool and three large PE spaces (and one of the two full size pitches has been installed and was visible in the background).
Some classrooms are closed and others open but everywhere there are these incredible light wells that flood in sunlight from the outside giving an airy fresh feel. Outside they’ve just started working on landscaping the grounds. Over the next few months the massive hill of top soil - which has been nicknamed the Porty Alp - will disappear into planted beds and grassy areas.
I’m grateful to Billy MacIntyre and Keith Thomson from the city council who took time out to explain it all to me. In four months’ time the staff and students from Porty High will be moving to Edinburgh’s biggest and best teaching facility. My guess is they’ll love it – schools didn’t look or feel like this when I was a lad!
The wait is nearly over. By next week the Tory party will have a new leader. And then they will foist him on the country at large. With most of the votes cast it seems that the clown prince is unstoppable. Barring a miracle Boris Johnson will be our next Prime Minister.
And then what?