THE rebuild of the Glasgow School of Art Mackintosh building is under way after thousands of tonnes of fire-damaged material has been cleared out.

The final bill is expected to be in excess of £100 million but bosses are unwilling to publicly put a figure on the work just now.

Details are sketchy at present with nothing definite about the cost or the overall funding sources.

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The art school said it is not looking at asking the Government for money at present and said “an interim insurance payment, legacy funding and ring-fenced funds” are contributing to the costs so far.

Currently, a figure of £60m has been put on the construction work but more will be needed by the time it is ready to reopen, expected to be by 2030.

Professor Penny Macbeth, director of the Glasgow School of Art, said it has “not factored in” Scottish Government funding “at the moment”.

Now it is actively looking at a major fundraising drive similar to after the first fire in 2014 when celebrities like Peter Capaldi and Hollywood star Brad Pitt helped raise more than £20m.

Prof Macbeth said: “We are not explicitly fundraising for the building just now.

She added: “Until we have cost certainty we can’t go out. We need a definitive sense of that. We are not at that stage.”

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She said at some stage it will be made public adding the final bill is dependent on a “range of factors”. And that “detailed plans” were being considered.

She did say the £60m identified for construction would be at least £100m once the project was complete.

Eleanor Magennis, GSA director of estates, said there was a figure in the outline business case but it is internal.

The £60m does not include VAT or other costs after construction like furniture and fittings when the building is refurbished.

Ms Magennis outlined the work taking place behind the scaffolding that has been around the Mackintosh to stabilise it since the fire.

Phase one saw the fire investigation report and the clear-up operation. Phase two, where rebuilding will take place to restore the building once more, has started.

Inside it is a bare structure of brick and stone after more than 5000 tonnes of fire-damaged debris has been cleared.

Glasgow Times:

It has the look and feel of a ruined castle with the south-facing part exposed and internal archways and window spaces intact.

Around 1200 tonnes of material is being stored in a recycling facility waiting to be brought back to be used in the restoration.

Ms Magennis said: “We are committed to reinstating the building through retention of as much of the original fabric as possible.

“The last year has seen us progress the huge task of assessing every part of the building whilst starting the key work streams for the faithful reinstatement. 

“In the coming weeks, we will begin the process of reinstating the internal structure, which supports the building, and construction of the temporary roof structure.” 

The vision is for the building to be a working part of the art school once again, used as a graduate school for postgrad students and researchers with the drawing studios open to all students.

Professor Macbeth said the refurbished Mackintosh would be a “building for all of the city and Scotland” and be “part of the regeneration of Sauchiehall Street”.

She added: “Over the last two years we have been working in parallel on clearing and assessing the building and undertaking important preparation work for the rebuild including commissioning a Strategic Outline Business Case which identified faithful reinstatement as the most appropriate way forward for the building, and commencing the procurement of the three key teams, who will work with us on the rebuild.”

The world-famous building, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh was badly damaged by fire in 2014 but fire crews were able to ensure that most of the building structure was saved.

The famous art nouveau library was, however, destroyed.

It was being rebuilt, when in June 2018 another fire tore through the building and destroyed the neighbouring O2 Academy venue on Sauchiehall Street.

Residents in the homes in Garnethill were out of their homes for months as the structure was not secure.

The surrounding streets were closed for months, businesses lost valuable trade, and many did not survive.