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Work starts on first 'hub' school
Scotland's hub initiative has reached a key milestone with construction of the first school in the scheme getting underway.
The innovative scheme sees better public buildings and enhanced services delivered at improved value for money to the taxpayer.
Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment Alex Neil marked the development of the new Haddington Joint Campus, surrounded by some of the boys and girls who will attend the school.
The completed site will house Haddington Infants School and St Mary's Primary together on the same campus. The foundations will go down in the coming weeks and the school is due for completion in October 2012.
Mr Neil said:
"It is incredibly exciting for me to see the work at Haddington Joint Campus get underway and to welcome to the site some of the children who will attend the school when it is ready.
"This is why infrastructure is so important to the Scottish Government - investing in infrastructure is investing in the future, as well as the present.
"New schools, new roads and new hospitals are being built to enrich communities across the country, despite swingeing cuts inflicted on our capital budget by Westminster.
"Scottish Government-supported capital investment will be 25 per cent higher in 2014-15 than in 2011-12, supporting jobs and stimulating growth in line with our Economic Strategy, which is designed to focus on green energy, support skills and invest in capital infrastructure.
"The public purse is under huge financial strain, which is why we need creative, innovative approaches such as the hub initiative to deliver maximum value for taxpayers' money.
"We could do even more if Scotland was given substantive capital borrowing powers that would allow us to invest in our infrastructure and thereby grow our economy."
The hub scheme has been developed by the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) on behalf of the Scottish Government.
SFT is overseeing the roll-out of hub across the five territories - North, South East, West, East Central and South West.
SFT associate director Gemma Gordon said:
"Haddington Infants and St Mary's RC Primary School is the very first school in Scotland to be built through SFT's innovative 'hub' programme, which aims to deliver best value for money and provide a wide range of services for the benefit of local communities.
"Many local businesses will benefit from being appointed by South East hub to carry out various stages of the school build, which will be a welcome boost to the local economy. The campus approach adopted by East Lothian Council, with two schools under one roof, is warmly welcomed and is very much in line with the current focus on public sector asset management.
"The council has adopted an innovative approach to water heating using solar panels which, as well as saving money, will help reduce the school's carbon footprint. The school has been designed to achieve an energy performance certificate rating of A.
"I very much look forward to returning to Haddington in 2012 to see the new school open."
East Lothian Council received £4.9 million for the new school from the Scottish Government's Schools Investment programme.
Haddington Joint Campus is the eighth development in the £1.25 billion Scotland's Schools for the Future initiative, with the first - Pumpherston and Uphall Station Community Primary - due for completion in January.
Through Scottish Schools for the Future, 330 schools have built or refurbished since 2007.