Audit reveals backlog of repairs at Argyll colleges

Argyll College

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An audit report has revealed University of the Highlands and Islands sites across Argyll are facing a backlog of repair jobs worth almost £500,000.

Urgent action must be taken to make those repairs sooner rather than later, says Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron.

The Scottish Conservative’s call came after an Audit Scotland report highlighted a backlog of more than £163 million of repairs facing colleges across the whole of Scotland.

Out of the repairs facing colleges and sites in Argyll, more than  £95,000 worth are classified as urgent.

Overall, the total repair bill for UHI’s 10 sites tops £24 million.

The figures include £69,055 to be spent on repairs at the Oban campus at Glenshellach Business Park over the next five years, despite it generally being in good condition.

Little Learners Nursery in Dunbeg will need £55,634 spending on it. The most significant of those jobs needing to be done by 2023 will be fencing maintenance at a cost of around £3,000, replacement of impact reduction play surfaces costing about £8,000, a replacement heating/cooling system, fire panels and CCTV systems due to outdating.

Over on Islay, the UV exposure and harsh environment mean windows and cladding are failing and will need to be replaced in the island’s high school. The cost of total repairs will come to £40,165.

Mr Cameron said: ‘It is a fact of life that any working building will require repairs, some of which will be urgent. However, the fact that the University of the Highlands and Islands has been allowed to build up a repair bill of over £24 million, with £2 million worth of urgent repairs, is of extreme concern to both staff and students.’

A spokesperson for Argyll College UHI said its priority was to ensure students have the best possible learning experience ‘within appropriate accommodation’ and that all repairs detailed in the SFC College Estates Report were included in its ongoing maintenance schedule.

She added: ‘We invested £43,000 in our Oban Learning Centre in 2016-17, and also in 2017 undertook a complete refurbishment of our Dunbeg property at a cost of £40,000.

‘In the forthcoming financial year, we have earmarked £250,000 for property maintenance, which includes £193,000 identified by the SFC capital estates review as urgent.’