The merger between Woodmill and St Columba’s High School is one step closer after councillors approved £19 million to kickstart the major Dunfermline Learning Campus project.
The ‘super campus’ proposal will see the schools moved from their original sites and into a new first of its kind space alongside a new Fife College campus.
Councillors agreed the preliminary funds with the outline business case on Thursday which means early work such as design and land purchases can commence.
When will the campus open?
Despite these early works, the super campus is a long way off of welcoming pupils.
The target completion date is currently marked for the summer of 2024 and the school could be occupied for the start of the 2024/25 school year.
But there are still many obstacles for Fife Council bosses to overcome before this can happen, including the agreement of the full business case which is expected to be discussed next year.
Current estimates predict the local authority share of the works to be around £111 million, however combined with the new college building, the total cost could be in the region of £300 million.
The Scottish Government is covering the full cost of the new college, which will be based at the former Shepherd Offshore site at Halbeath alongside the schools.
As part of the Learning Estate Investment Programme (LEIP), the government will also pay for half of the school through a revenue model.
What are the next steps?
Several public consultations were held to allow the public to air their views about the campus proposals.
A report outlining the results of the consultation is expected to be released later this month and will be submitted to councillors on September 7. The council’s education and children’s services sub-committee will then reach a decision on whether to implement the campus proposal in full, part or not.
Later this month, there will also be a detailed planning application submitted for the schools which would allow construction to begin in May 2022.
How will the schools merge?
Woodmill and St Columba’s will accommodate approximately 1,700 and 1,000 pupils respectively and will be run independently despite the merger.
The Dunfermline Learning Campus will also boast shared spaces such as classrooms for art, music and sports.
Councillors also heard justification for replacing the two schools.
Both schools are rated as category C buildings, the second worst rating awarded by assessors.