There are 44 projects on the list of schools that Oslo Municipality will build, expand or renovate in the next few years.
39 of them were delayed compared to initial plans.
Many point to the challenge of not having different parts of the municipality come together and talk.
Three years late
One of the schools at risk is the new secondary school at Økern Torg.
The need for a new school in one of Oslo’s fastest growing areas has long been known. Initially, the school was supposed to be completed in 2024, but after several postponements, the opening was pushed to 2027.
The last postponement came last fall and was due to a water main.
To build the school, the main aqueduct above the square had to be rerouted. Last year, the municipal company building the schools – Oslobygg – found that the plan to move the line did not match the school building plan.
Another municipal agency – namely the Water and Wastewater Agency – has indicated since 2016 that water will be the main challenge for the development of Økern Torg.
Anger is coming
– I’m angry. My hair is shedding that it could go on like this. “They make fun of us as parents,” says Rene Brostrom of the action group “Built Okern Schools Now.”
– The main problem is a crazy fragmentation of responsibility, he says.
– Paralysis of action
Liberal Holstein Bjerke believes the case is a prime example of what he believes is the root cause of all delays.
– Økern is an example of municipal action paralysis and administrative failure.
– Municipal agencies are allowed to disagree year after year, passing the matter back and forth between them and pointing fingers at each other without anyone making the cut and confirming progress, he says.
The school needs a plan
When the City Council presented its school needs plan for the next decade in 2021, it went Pinposton Delays by school are by school.
NRK has made the last two updates to the schedule. 39 out of 44 projects are delayed today.
Bjerke says that before red-green took over, nine out of ten schools in Oslo were built on time and at the right price.
– Nine out of ten school projects are now delayed.
– He says that we have gone from being a highly efficient municipality to being virtually paralyzed in eight years.
Many city councils and even more municipal agencies are involved in the Økern project.
A new school is part of the plans for the square, which has been a busy life and distribution center for fruit and vegetables for decades.
In addition to the school, up to 1,000 houses, a nursery, a multi-purpose hall and a park will be built. Refstadbekken is about to reopen. Also, having to move the main waterway has created a major headache.
While they wait for their own school, Økern students go to Årvoll – a barracks school.
On Sunday, NRK told about another barracks school – in Trosterud.
But in Trosterud both are not a school. Planning for a new school, multi-purpose hall and cultural center here began exactly four years ago.
Prior to that, the municipality had been working since 2016 to identify what new urban spaces and public services the area of Trosteret and Hagerud would need in the future.
But a new and badly needed school won’t be completed until 2027.
– Increased demand
There are many similar examples. According to the Swedish Education Agency, building new schools is increasingly needed and exciting.
Many school sites do not exist, and they are often cramped and expensive.
– Therefore, school projects must be carefully planned to ensure that we use every square meter optimally, says department director Bjork Nowang.
And multiple projects, he says, address multiple objectives simultaneously.
– The municipality should act in a coordinated manner, and the agencies should cooperate more closely. There is still room for improvement here, says Nowang.
– To speak better
The city council is doing the same, says school councilor Sunnyva Holmes Eitzvoll (SV).
– We are working to get the best orders for school buildings quickly and to clarify what kind of activities will be included in advance. We avoid having you come up with a new requirement at the end of a process so it takes more time.
– Then we work to work faster and communicate better across businesses, he says.
The most important reason for this delay, he says, is that projects have to fulfill many requirements at once and many people have to give feedback.
– They don’t always agree, and then you have to spend time finding good solutions.
– I understand very well that many people are frustrated because the school buildings are not completed as originally planned. But I would like to add that even if it takes a long time, the schools we are planning now will be very good, says Sunnuva Holmås Eidsvoll.
He says NOK 16 billion has been allocated to build schools in Oslo over the next four years and there is no money left.
It was poor comfort for the Økern parents.
– We have calculated that there are more than 680,000 teaching days, which will then be carried out in a temporary campus far from the local school and the local environment, says René Brostrom of the Action Committee.
Hallstein Bjercke doesn’t buy the explanation that school programs have become too complex.
– Bjerke says it shows a city council that can’t just point to each other and make decisions.
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