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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 February 2007, 13:27 GMT
70m high school contract signed
Earlston High School artist's impression
Earlston will get a new high school as part of the plans
A 70m contract has been signed to build three new secondary schools in the Scottish Borders.

The Scottish Borders Education Partnership Consortium (SBEP) has agreed the deal with the council.

It will see new high schools built in Duns, Earlston and Eyemouth through a public private partnership.

Scottish Borders Council leader David Parker said it was "tremendous news" for the communities which would be served by the new schools.

SBC embarked on the process some four years ago.

Together we have planned and provided for the long-term future - this really is a great day for education in the Borders
David Parker
SBC leader

In March last year it agreed that SBEP was its preferred bidder to construct the secondary schools.

Now detailed agreements on the financial, educational, commercial and legal elements of the 30-year contract have been signed.

Mr Parker said the whole council could take pride in reaching this stage.

"Together we have planned and provided for the long-term future - this really is a great day for education in the Borders," he said.

"Like all local authorities the council is facing tougher financial times.

"But we regard our absolute commitment to this project as a long term investment that will create a valuable legacy for future generations."

'Uncompromising excellence'

Cllr Andrew Farquhar, joint portfolio holder for SBC's education department, said pupils, staff and local communities had contributed to developing the school designs.

He said each secondary offered "uncompromising excellence".

SBEP consortium director Martin Pugh said it was "absolutely thrilled" to sign the contract.

He said the group was totally committed to delivering "modern exciting and stimulating learning environments".

It is hoped that the schools will open during the 2008/09 school year.

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