A school destroyed in a blaze will cost 5.5 million to replace, dwarfing the price of a sprinkler system experts say would have saved it.

A sprinkler system would have saved taxpayers millions of pounds which will now have to spent on a full school rebuild to replace the destroyed Harrington Junior School, in Long Eaton.

Derbyshire County Council received 1.28 million in an insurance payout linked to the fire-hit school, which was valued at 2.7 million.

The school was destroyed in a blaze which was accidentally started by authority maintenance staff carrying out refurbishment works on May 28.

This week, the council is set to start a search for a contractor to build a replacement school.

Research by other English councils and fire departments estimates the cost of a sprinkler system for a school the size of Harrington catering for 235 pupils is between 65,000 and 83,500.

The council says the new build, on the same site as the former school, which has been bulldozed and cleared, will cost 5.5 million.

This is 65 times the estimated cost of installing sprinklers in the former building.

Of the total 5.5 million cost of the rebuild, 1.28 million will come from the insurance payout, 1 million will come from the councils own finances this figure representing the excess on the insurance and it is hoped that the remaining 3.22 million will come from a proposed bid for capital funding which will start in April 2021.

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The council says the new school must be completed by June 2022, in time for the start of the new school year in September 2022.

It has formally committed to installing sprinklers in the new school.

The build contract itself is valued at 4.34 million, with the rest of the cost to the council coming from contracting and design fees, fixtures and fittings for the new school along with risk and contingency funding.

A 500,000 temporary replacement for the school, built without planning permission, was constructed in August and will remain in place for two years to house students until the new-build is ready.

This, too, was funded by an insurance claim on the destroyed school.

It does not have sprinklers.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service revealed in a Freedom of Information request from the Local Democracy Reporting Service that its efforts to combat the Harrington fire cost an estimated 41,790 around half the price of a would-be sprinkler system for the school.

Two firefighters also suffered minor injuries fighting the Harrington blaze.

A report from the county council shows the authority will select a construction company from a shortlist of eight firms.

These are:

Ashe Construction Ltd

Engie Regeneration Ltd

GF Tomlinson Building Ltd

Interserve Construction Ltd

Morgan Sindall Construction

Seddon Construction

Speller Metcalf

Vinci Construction UK Ltd

Gavin Tomlinson, Derbyshire chief fire officer, had told the LDRS that sprinklers would have saved the Long Eaton school and was frustrated at the lack of investment and foresight to avoid such a tragedy.

He is part of a national campaign calling for it to be mandatory for all new schools and major school refurbishments to include a sprinkler system.

Cllr Barry Lewis, county council leader, along with Cllr Chris Poulter, leader of Derby City Council have both signed a pledge to have sprinklers in all new build schools and primary and secondary schools undergoing significant renovation, refurbishment or extension.

This came after Harrington was destroyed by a fire and two Derby schools Ravensdale Infant and Nursery School and St Marys Catholic Voluntary Academy were destroyed by arson in October.

The two Derby schools also did not have sprinklers and Mr Tomlinson says they, too, could have been saved if the buildings had had them.

The LDRS Freedom of Information request shows that combating those two blazes cost the fire service an estimated 29,400 and 78,760 respectively.

Both the city and county councils have refused to name which schools they oversee do not have sprinklers, claiming a perceived risk of arson attacks if the names were revealed.

This claim has been discredited by Mr Tomlinson.

See the rest here:
Fire-ravaged Derbyshire school will cost 5.5 million to rebuild - Derbyshire Live

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