Guernsey Press

Les Ozouets campus build costs up 50%

ESTIMATED maximum construction costs of a new post-16 campus at Les Ozouets have increased by nearly 50% – more than £30m. in cash terms ­– since the projects were approved by the States.

Education, Sport & Culture Committee told deputies over the weekend that it was now forecasting construction costs of up to £98.1m. at Les Ozouets, up from £67.4m. as previously in 2019 and 2021. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 32578704)

Building costs for further education facilities for the Guernsey Institute and a co-located sixth form centre were expected to be up to £67.4m. when they were agreed in 2019 and 2021 respectively.

But the Education, Sport & Culture Committee told deputies over the weekend that it was now forecasting construction costs of up to £98.1m. at Les Ozouets.

Its seven-page briefing note, seen by the Guernsey Press, stated that in the past year alone anticipated building costs had increased by up to £9.3m. excluding contingencies and £15.1m. including contingencies.

ESC president Andrea Dudley-Owen assured deputies that her committee was keeping tight financial control of its plan to reorganise secondary and further education into three 11-16 schools with a relocated sixth form centre and new Guernsey Institute.

‘Costs are being well managed and recent net increases to those costs are almost wholly the result of inflationary pressures outside of our control,’ she said in the briefing note.

‘The net increase is due to the significant increase in inflation above the estimates, rather than any lack of management of the costs within the programme’s control, and is a States risk which besets all capital projects.’

ESC’s briefing note revealed that the overall maximum construction costs of its reorganisation of secondary and further education, including minor capital works at other school sites and decanting staff and students, had increased to £96.9m. excluding contingencies and £111.2m. including contingencies.

These figures excluded the costs of managing the reorganisation, transport changes and digital improvements, which together have previously been estimated at more than £20m.

The briefing note also showed that overall costs had been kept lower than they would have been otherwise as a result of budget reductions for some of the minor capital works at other school sites.

Changes at Les Varendes High School, formerly the Grammar School, to accommodate the Youth Commission, Music Service and sexual health services, are now expected to cost up to £1.7m., down from £2.5m. estimated two years ago. Running communication and autism services at Les Beaucamps High School from an existing facility rather than a new building is expected to reduce costs from £1.6m. to not more than £300,000. And the costs of other changes planned at secondary schools have been cut from £12m. to a maximum of £9.3m.

‘Keeping expenditure in line with the estimates in the 2021 policy letter, in a period of generally rising costs, has required the committee to maintain a close focus on how to deliver the new educational model for the best possible value for money,’ said Deputy Dudley-Owen.

ESC’s briefing note claimed that most of the overall estimated increase in construction costs related to projects approved by the previous States using figures provided by the previous committee – most notably for the new Guernsey Institute, which was agreed in 2019 and then delayed by a requete the following year.

‘I am pleased the financial management and focus of the committee and the officers supporting it have meant that the net cost increase during this period is almost wholly due to inflationary pressures, evidencing the positive impact of our focus on, and management of, those costs that are within our control,’ said Deputy Dudley-Owen.