Fears for the safety of the Lochee community have forced Dundee City Council to accelerate plans to demolish a derelict city school.
The former St Mary’s Primary School Annex and Nursery has lain empty since 2011. Though boarded-up and secured for the past four years, the school has been repeatedly targeted by vandals and arsonists, with fires raging through its abandoned classrooms.
Ceilings are collapsing and large quantities of asbestos have been discovered in the building’s roof.
The deterioration is now so great that city engineers are convinced it must be condemned and have banned people from entering.
The final straw has been a recent spate of “targeted antisocial behaviour” and in particular a number of incidents of fire-raising.
Most recently, firefighters spent two hours tackling a fire started deliberately in a ground-floor room in the former nursery building in July.
The nursery facility was relocated to the main primary school building in 2011. Crucially, the annexe was also assessed as having investment and repair needs totalling more than £4m.
In the four years since it has closed the building which sits in a conservation area has deteriorated, with water ingress leading to widespread rot, fungus and mould growth and ceiling collapses. Steelwork has also corroded, fires have weakened the structure and asbestos has been discovered in the roof.
In a report to the council, city engineer Gary Brady states: “Given the lack of viable future use, targeted antisocial behaviour and significant presence of hazardous deficiencies in the property, demolition is a favoured solution for removing the risks presented by this property.”
The proposal for demolition will be considered at a future council meeting.