Anger as ceiling of £28m PPP school collapses just a month before it was due to open

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SHOCKING images show the inside of a almost built £28m “super school” after the ceiling collapsed.

The photographs show what appears to be a collapsed ceiling and another part of the ceiling half collapsed and hanging over a kitchen area at the school in Dumfries which is due to open next month.

The school is being built as one of a number of projects organised by the Private-Public Partnership (PPP) Hub South West Scotland Ltd.

The ‘hub’ combines local authorities, such as councils including Dumfries and Galloway and South Lanarkshire, and private companies – equitix, GallifordTry, Kier and GRAHAM construction.

Images show the “super school’s” collapsed ceiling

The “super school” – called the North-West Community Campus – is due to take children from five current primaries.

In Edinburgh, 17 schools, constructed under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), were temporarily closed for safety checks following the partial collapse of a primary.

The photographs, taken by a local who wishes to remain anonymous, show a collapsed panel ceiling with apparent bends in the support structure.

The panels are visibly damaged, and parts of the insulation still on the ceiling can be seen in the background.

A second photograph shows the state of the collapse, with the newly-built school grounds and football pitch visible from the outside.

A third photograph shows another part of the ceiling which has collapsed in a kitchen area.

Chairs, lockers and a bookcase can be seen in the pictures – with the fractured ceiling hanging over the top.

Despite the pictures, Dumfries and Galloway council and the construction firm today claimed there had been a leak followed by “controlled removal” of the ceiling.

The company, GRAHAM, said: “The weight of water over a period of time saturated ceiling tiles and caused sagging and superficial damage.

“GRAHAM took the decision to remove the ceiling completely in this area to ensure full and robust rectification works could be undertaken.”

A spokeswoman for Dumfries and Galloway Council said: “GRAHAM have given us their assurance regarding the issue being fully rectified and all necessary checks and due diligence being carried out.”

Picture of the roof collapsing on the kitchen area

They added: “At the moment, the facility is still under the responsibility of GRAHAM. The Council will not take ownership of the building until all construction works have been completed to the satisfaction of the Council.”

One of the pictures taken inside the school shows parts of the ceiling directly on top of chairs and other furniture.

Angry locals shared their outrage after the pictures emerged on social media, warning there could have been tragic consequences if the school had been open.

Paul Mcdowell was among social media users to pour scorn on the explanation. He said: “If that’s controlled, am a millionaire.”

Amanda Little asked: “Why would you take it down and leave all the furniture underneath it? More likely it fell down.”

Michaela Lillysue added: “Talking crap. It wouldn’t be like this if you took it down. Stop trying to cover up.”

Social media users were furious after discovering about the school

Ian Edgar wrote: “The Building Site CCTV should be posted on here showing the controlled way the ceiling was taken down. That would alleviate everyone’s worries and concerns and put to rest the rumours that are now circulating around the region.”

Kelly Shanks asked: “So why is all the metal in the pictures all buckled if it was taken down in a controlled environment and why wasn’t furniture moved?”

Andy Hughes added: “Just admit a mistake has been made. Dumfries council have a record for being untrustworthy and should have not have hidden this. If cuts are coming councillors should go first. We deserve a better service.”

While Megan Smith said: “Looks like it fell down to me. Now trying to cover it up. Lost for words.”

Maxwellton High School, St Ninian’s and Lochside primaries, Langlands school for children with complex needs, and The Elmbank Centre, for pupils with behavioural issues, will all be incorporated into the new “super school” campus.

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