Last week, Fife councillors finally agreed to purchase a site for the long-awaited new new Madras College to begin construction.
The site at Langlands will be bought from the University of St Andrews. In turn, the University will take the South Street campus which will be leased back for a nominal rent of £1 until the new school is built. Officers told councillors that ground would be broken for the new school this week, with an expectation that pupils could finally move in during 2021.
Councillor Craig Walker, convener of the assets, property and facilities committee, said: “This is quite a momentous day. “We have been working with the university for some time to get to this point. A tremendous amount of work has gone on in the background to make sure that we are still on time to have a new school built for 2021.
“The £250 million ‘Building Fife’s Future Programme’ has seen five secondary schools and two primary schools built in Fife over the last 10 years. A new Madras College will complete the programme” .He added: “In the next phase we hope to provide a replacement for St Columba’s RC and Woodmill High Schools, Dunfermline, on a community campus which could include a new Fife College, as well as a replacement for Inverkeithing High.”It’s an an exciting time for education in Fife” and added: “Providing innovative, modern new buildings for our children is key to delivering the best of education for all. A new Madras has been a long-awaited dream about to come true.”
Councillor Brian Thomson, who has been intimately involved with the project over a number of years, said “This is a huge step towards delivering the much-needed new school. With preliminary works already underway on site, and the main construction works now due to commence imminently, the children and young people from the Madras College catchment area, and the school staff, are set to get the modern school facilities they deserve. The new school will also provide fantastic facilities for community use”.
He continued, “With Fife Council first committing to delivering a new school in 2008, it’s very unfortunate that it’s taken so long to get to this stage, and there have been a number of setbacks. However, the huge amount of local people who have campaigned since 2011, to firstly stop the hugely unpopular proposed refurbishment of the Kilrymont Road building, then to continue pushing for a new-build school, despite the setbacks, are to be applauded. Also, there has been excellent cooperation between the Council and the University over the last three years since discussions regarding the Langlands site began, and the Council officers and University staff involved deserve great credit for concluding a complex land deal.”
Councillor Ann Verner added: “I am thrilled that this is finally going ahead. Pupils and parents have waited too long and they, and the St Andrews wider community, deserve a new ‘fit for purpose school’ and we must now do all we can to ensure that happens. I’m delighted to receive assurances that work on the new Madras is scheduled to start.”
Cllr Bill Connor agreed, saying: “It is great that it was brought here rather than waiting months to get it agreed. I’m sure it is a decision that will be welcomed by every parent and child.”