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Madras College costs prompt political row

Artist's impression of the new Madras College at Pipeland
Artist's impression of the new Madras College at Pipeland

Just over half of the £40 million budget for the new Madras College will be spent on the building itself if erected at the controversial Pipeland site.

Costs revealed in response to a Freedom of Information request revealed that the school and ancillary buildings as designed will cost £23m.

Other expenses in a break-down issued two years ago include £1.7m for buying the land, £90,000 for diverting the public right-of-way through the site and £176,000 for diverting a gas main.

Councillor David MacDiarmid, who flagged up the data during a recent Fife Council committee meeting, said pupils deserved better than a £23m school.

He said: “I want £40m spent on the school, not just £23m. The children deserve better.

“But we are building a school on a hill and we are going to be taking away half the hill before we start.”

The projected cost of the school has since risen to £45.6m and Mr MacDiarmid also called for the council’s education spokesman Councillor Bryan Poole to stand down over the “shambolic” saga.

Blaming the administration for the delay in delivering a new secondary school for St Andrews, set back years by a successful legal challenge, he said: “They all knew what was going to happen but they stuck their political heads in the sand and it has cost us £5.6m.

“If you cost the taxpayer £5.6m you really should be resigning from your post.”

Mr Poole insisted the new Madras College would be equal to if not better than other new secondary schools in Fife and that breaking down the budget as the FOI had done was unhelpful.

He said the £40m fund was similar to that for the new Dunfermline, Auchmuty and forthcoming Levenmouth high schools, each of which also included site preparation works, architect fees and other costs.

The only additional but “small” costs, he said, were provision of hospital car parking and the right-of-way diversion.

He said: “The replacement Madras College will be at least the equal of our most recent new build schools, probably even better as we aim to learn from every new build and incorporate any improvements into the next new build.”

“It is just not possible or indeed helpful to sub-divide the overall budget into preparation works and actual build, laying a brick as Cllr MacDiarmid puts it.

“You couldn’t lay a brick anywhere without the proper preparation of the site.”

Just over half of the £40 million budget for the new Madras College will be spent on the building itself if erected at the controversial Pipeland site.

Costs revealed in response to a Freedom of Information request revealed that the school and ancillary buildings as designed will cost £23m.

Other expenses in a break-down issued two years ago include £1.7m for buying the land, £90,000 for diverting the public right-of-way through the site and £176,000 for diverting a gas main.

Councillor David MacDiarmid, who flagged up the data during a recent Fife Council committee meeting, said pupils deserved better than a £23m school.

He said: “I want £40m spent on the school, not just £23m. The children deserve better.

“But we are building a school on a hill and we are going to be taking away half the hill before we start.”

The projected cost of the school has since risen to £45.6m and Mr MacDiarmid also called for the council’s education spokesman Councillor Bryan Poole to stand down over the “shambolic” saga.

Blaming the administration for the delay in delivering a new secondary school for St Andrews, set back years by a successful legal challenge, he said: “They all knew what was going to happen but they stuck their political heads in the sand and it has cost us £5.6m.

“If you cost the taxpayer £5.6m you really should be resigning from your post.”

Mr Poole insisted the new Madras College would be equal to if not better than other new secondary schools in Fife and that breaking down the budget as the FOI had done was unhelpful.

He said the £40m fund was similar to that for the new Dunfermline, Auchmuty and forthcoming Levenmouth high schools, each of which also included site preparation works, architect fees and other costs.

The only additional but “small” costs, he said, were provision of hospital car parking and the right-of-way diversion.

He said: “The replacement Madras College will be at least the equal of our most recent new build schools, probably even better as we aim to learn from every new build and incorporate any improvements into the next new build.”

“It is just not possible or indeed helpful to sub-divide the overall budget into preparation works and actual build, laying a brick as Cllr MacDiarmid puts it.

“You couldn’t lay a brick anywhere without the proper preparation of the site.”

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