THE cost of building the new Saddleworth School has risen to £27 million.
Construction work will start on Monday, July 20 but it will be 2022 before doors open to pupils.
When completed the new building will accommodate up to 1,500 students aged 11 to 16.Cost of the new build had been estimated at £19 million. Last October, leading Oldham councillors signed off on additional expenditure and the land transaction arrangements for the former WH Shaw Pallet Works site in Diggle.
The details of the extra capital needed were discussed in a restricted section of the meeting from which the public and press were excluded.
Now the new figure has been announced with confirmation Interserve Group Limited have been awarded the contract by the Department for Education.
A Department of Educcation spokesperson said: “Costs for building projects on this scale often change as development work progresses and more is understood about the nature of the work required.
“In the case of Saddleworth School, the final contract sum was higher than initial estimates due to a number of factors including inflation over the five years since the project was first approved and additional building work required to meet updated legislation.
“The costs have been fully scrutinised and we are clear that this project delivers good value for money, providing brand new facilities for Saddleworth School on a new site that will provide a better learning experience for pupils.”
Wigan-based Interserve Construction will be responsible for the new build.
Phil Shaw, Regional Director at Interserve Construction, said: “This is a really important opportunity for us and the local community.
“As we venture into uncertain times it is really important we provide opportunities to rebuild the economy through local employment.”
Interserve was recently appointed to build the special needs Halcyon Way and Prospect House schools, also in Oldham.
The company says it is committed to investing in the communities in which it works and “will look to maximise local supply chain involvement as well as generating skills and employment opportunities within the Oldham area.”
Mike Anderson, who takes up post as headteacher in September, said: “We are all excited at the prospect of working in this amazing new school building which will serve our community for years to come and will allow us to welcome even more children to Saddleworth School.”
Matthew Milburn, executive headteacher who retires at the end of the summer term, added: “I have been involved with the design of the new school from the very beginning.
“I look forward to visiting Saddleworth in 2022 to see the team making the most of what will be a fantastic educational and community asset.”
Richard Knowles, a long-serving school governor, said: “I am absolutely delighted the new school contract has been signed and the school will open in February 2022.
“This concludes a 20-year campaign I started as Oldham Council leader in 2002 when Saddleworth was the top priority for secondary school replacement in Oldham.
“It is fantastic news for the pupils, parents and staff who have waited so long.”