New £1m special needs school in Portsmouth in need of repairs due to leaky roof
FEARS a recently renovated £1m special needs school in Portsmouth could become a 'money pit' have been raised after it was revealed extra cash was needed to fix its leaky roof.
Work to create The Lantern School, in the ground floor of the former Harbour School in Fratton, was fast-tracked last year and took only 66 days to complete.
The project, which was tailored for 14 young people with significant physical and mental disabilities, was intended to serve as a temporary site for three years.
During a Portsmouth City Council meeting officers updated education boss Councillor Suzy Horton on repairs needed at the school.
Caroline Corcoran, the council's head of sufficiency, participation and resources for education, said: 'We didn't really do any work on the roof, that was for the inside of the building.
'The work was really about creating the inside of the building.
'We have got a few leaks now. We think it's probably two or three minor patch repairs.
'It's not a good quality building. What we have effectively done is build a building inside a building.'
However, Tory spokesman for education, Cllr Terry Norton, had concerns costs could increase.
He said: 'We spent over £1m on that school for 14 students, is it likely to have future issues?
'Is this going to be a money pit over the next three years where we have to keep patching it up and then we find it's gone from a £1m project to £2m?'
Ms Corcoran added: 'It was always intended to be a temporary solution.
'There will be maintenance costs.'
The new space in the school has been split into two main areas with the first comprising of a specialist classroom, a sensory suite, a group teaching room, a multi-functional practical space and toilet facilities.
And the second area provides one-to-one spaces, a common room, laundry rooms and a second sensory space for older children.
Other options were considered last year including placing the pupils in independent settings, however, this was estimated to cost £1.5m for eight pupils over three years.
An investigation on what repairs are needed will now be carried out before costs will be known.