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School was pushed down repairs list

LIBERTON High School had been pushed down a priority list for repairs due to budget pressures within the City of Edinburgh Council.

Surveys completed in 2012-13 revealed that £25 million was needed to be spent over five years to repair and maintain the city's high schools, including "significant" work at Liberton.

However, as the council did not have enough money to carry out all of the recommended work across its Children and Families estate, it adopted a "prioritisation" policy for investments between this year and 2019, aimed at ensuring establishments remained in a satisfactory condition.

Liberton High School had been given a 'B' grade following its inspection, meaning it was deemed to be "performing adequately but showing minor deterioration", despite needing at least £1m of repairs in the first year of the programme.

As a result, it was classed as "priority two", behind buildings that needed work to ensure they were wind and water tight and those that had been given a C grade, meaning they were "showing major defects and/or not operating adequately".

A decision was also taken to focus available funding on roofs, external walls, windows and doors, mechanical services and electrical services in order to "keep buildings operational".

The council said that the wall that had collapsed yesterday had not been identified during the surveys as requiring repair.

Andy Gray, the local authority's head of schools, refused to be drawn when asked whether there had been any concerns about the safety of the building, instead saying the council would be working with the Health and Safety Executive and police to determine exactly what had happened.

Council papers from May 2013 showed that a "building fabric upgrade" was needed at the school. A later report in December said that an upgrade to rendering, cladding panels, wiring and heating were among the repairs needed. Mechanical improvements were needed in the gym area, the report said, although there was no mention of any need for structural improvements in the part of the school where the wall collapsed.

The school was opened in 1959, with the PE accommod-ation upgraded in the 1980s.

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