Dunfermline Press

Demolition of two high schools by end of 2024


THE current St Columba’s and Woodmill high school buildings are earmarked to be cleared and knocked down towards the end of next year.

They’re being replaced by brand new facilities at the £223 million Dunfermlin­e Learning Campus with Fife Council keen to move quickly to clear the sites on either side of Woodmill Road.

They want to prevent them becoming a “magnet” for anti-social behaviour and fire-raising and have now submitted two prior notificati­ons for demolition.

A spokespers­on confirmed that “both sites are to be completely cleared” and a detailed programme will be prepared for the demolition works which is “likely to start towards the end of 2024”.

That will clear the way for redevelopm­ent after the two new high schools at Halbeath open in August 2024.

Future use of the current sites is “still to be decided” but Councillor James Calder, convener of the City of Dunfermlin­e area committee, is hoping for some “creative thinking”.

He said: “I think it is really important that Fife Council considers the wishes of the community when it comes to the future of the sites.

“The council needs to look at the economic impact of losing the facilities on Abbeyview.

“I am also keen that we ensure the local community is properly served by local facilities and we need to ensure progress in the new hub.

“The reduction in swimming capacity in the West Fife area is also something that will need to be addressed.

“The area committee did agree we need to look at the feasibilit­y of more swimming facilities in the area and I hope the administra­tion takes this seriously.

“Hopefully there will be some creative thinking in the future of the sites.”

As reported previously by the Press, the delayed Abbeyview Hub, originally due for completion in September of this year, won’t be ready until at least the Autumn of 2024.

The budget has also shot up from £7.5m to £9.5m.

Demolition of all the buildings at Woodmill also confirms the loss of communityu­se sports facilities, including the games halls and swimming pool which was used by the Fife Sports and Leisure Trust for lessons.

Cllr Gavin Ellis had voiced concern that the sites would be used for housing and suggested that, given the pressure on an ageing Carnegie Leisure Centre, the land could accommodat­e a new leisure centre and swimming pool.

Tasked with putting forward options to retain or enhance sports facilities on soon-to-be empty school sites, such as St Columba’s and Woodmill and, two years further down the line, Inverkeith­ing High, council officers are expected to come back with a report next month.

On the plans for two Dunfermlin­e schools, the head of property services, Alan Paul, had said: “The first phase will be to clear the existing buildings and the reason for that is because unfortunat­ely former school buildings in particular seem to be magnets for anti-social behaviour.

“One of the reasons we’re investing in a new learning campus is a consequenc­e of anti-social behaviour which resulted in the loss of half of Woodmill due to a fire back in 2019.

“We know that these buildings have been the target of anti-social behaviour in the past and I think it would be prudent to assume they may be the target of similar behaviour going forward.”

 ?? ?? Woodmill and St Columba’s high school buildings are set to be demolished towards the end of 2024. Images: Newsquest
Woodmill and St Columba’s high school buildings are set to be demolished towards the end of 2024. Images: Newsquest

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