Glenrothes councillors have given the green light to plans for a new £33 million secondary school to replace the ageing Auchmuty High School.
The long-awaited new school, which forms part of Fife Council’s Building Fife’s Future (BFF) capital programme, will replace the buildings in Dovecot Road which were built in two stages in the 1950s and 1970s.
The school is said to be in poor condition, inflexible in configuration and difficult to renovate, but the proposed new building promises to give pupils and staff a learning environment fit for the 21st century.
Members of the Glenrothes area committee have considered the plans and there was unanimous agreement that the development is not before time.
The school had been further down the council’s list of priorities in relation to the BFF programme, but cash from the Scottish Futures Trust was allocated to the Auchmuty project and enabled the local authority to bring it forward.
Almost two thirds of the £33 million will be met from that funding source.
Council leader Peter Grant warmly welcomed approval of the new school, which should be up and running in 2013.
“Having seen the plans for the inside of the building, we have got some folk working in this council when it comes to designing schools in particular who are among the best in the business,” he said.
“The work that’s been done to resolve any possible difficulties has been first class and the fact that this school is now only about two years away is a remarkable achievement.”
The blueprint will see a more modern building created on the site of the existing school’s playing fields, with provision for new playing fields to be made when the current quadrangle is demolished.
The plans also include a floodlit all-weather pitch, tennis courts and kickabout area, an access road, car parking and bus stance, and landscaping.
While the new building will actually be smaller than the existing school, it has been designed to accommodate 1300 pupils, with the current school roll sitting at 1285.Not ‘a day too soon’Councillor Ross Vettraino said, “I have never seen so much enthusiasm for a project. It’s programmed to be finished in 2013 and that won’t be a day too soon as far as I’m concerned.”
Labour councillor Bill Kay also praised the “well thought out” project, and fellow party colleague Kay Morrison said the school would see it as a “very, very significant” step forward.
Mid-Fife and Glenrothes MSP Tricia Marwick hailed the decision, saying, “I am delighted that Fife Council has approved plans for a new Auchmuty High School and this is a momentous day for Glenrothes.
Although no objections were received there had been some niggles about road safety, but councillors were assured these have been addressed by appropriate conditions as part of planning consent.
The new main entrance to the school will be from the existing access on the adopted Dovecot Road to the north of the football pitch in Dovecot Park.
This will involve the creation of a mini-roundabout at the Dovecot Road/Dovecot Park junction and the widening and re-alignment of the existing road and paths.
A total of 167 off-street car parking spaces will also be created in the complex. In terms of playing fields, the existing provision will be replaced by a kickabout area and an all-weather full-sized pitch suitable for several sports.
There will be four tennis courts on the northern part of the site. The remaining area of ground to the south will have two football pitches and a rugby pitch.
Councillors were also told that the existing school buildings are expected to remain operational until the new school is completed. The adjacent playing fields at Dovecot and Lomond, owned by Fife Council, will be used by the school during the construction period.