This must be the flattest place in Duddingston. The seemingly huge expanse of concrete now being laid is taking a while to do but when it is finished everyone reckons the school will arise very quickly. Each day the site seems more like a laboratory than a muck and bricks builder’s yard.
Many of you will remember the scenes of the giant machines wandering around old Portobello High School, progressively tearing larger and larger chunks out of the building. There was something of the tyrannosaurus about them so it was a flash back this morning to see this one rearing into the sky. No blood-curdling scream but a gentle flow of concrete emerged and has continued all day. The machine arrived at 6.45 this morning, with its long tentacle all wound up on itself in Duddingston Park ready to build anew.
You might think nothing much has happened and we are still months away from anything that looks like a building. But all the experts assure us that concrete is being poured into the ground – in the foreground of our picture and the bundles of wires are there to fix the building to. One day, quite soon, there will be the first girder, stanchion or whatever the metal bit is and then we are off.
There is an air of calm, a regular flow of lorries taking away the last remnants of the old Portobello High School and smaller tradesman vans, bringing in electricians and the like. Neighbours have had visitors from the construction team warning that there may be some disturbance from some essential evening work – keeping everyone happy.
Eleven months to go before the next autumn starts – in the fine new building.
“Pupils from St John’s RC Primary School are joined by Head Teacher Barbara Service and Education Convener Cllr Ian Perry at the sod cutting for their new school being built on the site of the former Portobello High School. It will open in August 2018.”
Since the beginning of August a lot of work has been done on site – although there is little to show for it – everything is very neat and organised. However, all the experts say that once the foundations are laid the superstructure will shoot up. Children should be marching in the doors of the new school just 50 weeks from now.
The foundations are now being laid – after several weeks of site examination and pile work. There have been many lorries taking stuff in and out and there is activity over the whole site, rain permitting.
Work is well under way on the new St Johns. The drilling machine is in place drilling holes for the foundations and there is a concrete “hypodermic” pushing concrete around the steel which is being put in the holes. It is a quiet process, not pile driving, and there is an air of efficient calm. The drilling and filling is to take 6 weeks.
Meanwhile, the crushed remains of Old Portobello High School are being removed – allaying fears that the ground would not be good for planting.
Councillor Maureen Child’s excellent weekly email included this news on 30 June:
“A couple of people have asked about the new Treverlen Park planning process. A Proposal of Application Notice (16/05530/PAN) was submitted back in November 2016 for the development of the old Portobello High School site, which includes a new St John’s and a new Park, which was consulted upon widely. A planning application is to be submitted in the next couple of months, with the applicant (City of Edinburgh Council Corporate Property) pulling together the required reports and information prior to submission. Once the application is submitted, there will be the usual three week period for interested parties to comment on the contents of the planning application.”