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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 February, 2005, 14:30 GMT
Backing for 290m schools scheme
The council hopes that work will start on the project this summer
A council has approved a 290m school modernisation scheme which it says is the first to use private cash without forcing its staff to switch employer.

Seventeen new secondary schools will be built and two will be refurbished under the plan by South Lanarkshire Council.

Council leader Eddie McAvoy said it was "the largest and most ambitious schools PPP project in Scotland".

He said it was the first PPP scheme where no council staff would be forced to transfer to the private sector.

Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) allow private firms to fund the work on the schools, with the local council paying them back over several decades.

We are delighted to be able to build 17 brand new schools and refurbish a further two
Councillor Eddie McAvoy

On Wednesday, South Lanarkshire Council's executive committee awarded preferred bidder status to the InspirED consortium, which is led by Amec.

Councillor McAvoy said: "This is fantastic news for South Lanarkshire's schools.

"Initially we were looking at eight new build schools and 11 refurbishments, but in partnership with InspirED we are delighted to be able to build 17 brand new schools and refurbish a further two."

He added that every primary school in the area was also being rebuilt or refurbished.

Fine-tuning of the InspirED bid will continue over the next few months, with the aim of having the deal concluded by June.

Construction work is due to start this summer and the project is scheduled to be completed in 2009.

The two schools which will not be rebuilt are Hamilton Grammar, which was extensively refurbished in 1996, and Stonelaw High, which was built in 1998.

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