Cash bid by council over new school

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A FUNDING bid is to be submitted to the Scottish Government for Levenmouth’s new single-site secondary school.

Fife Council hopes to replace Kirkland and Buckhaven Highs with a new 1700-capacity facility – hopefully within four years – costing around £37 million.

Kirkland High School

Kirkland High School

The project comes under phase three of Scotland’s School for the Future (SFT) programme. The preferred location is the existing site of Buckhaven High School, which has sufficient playing field space to accommodate “a new expanded learning community.”

The council’s executive committee heard on Thursday that a merger could mean major savings, as well as educational and social advantages.

It’s hoped the Scottish Government will fund just under two thirds of the overall price, excluding IT costs, with the council expected to find the balance, estimated between £14.1 and £15.5 million.

This would have to be achieved through prudential borrowing, should the bid be accepted, as there was no finance available within the existing education capital programme.

However, members heard the debt could be met in the long term with annual recurring savings of around £1.2 million, created by operating a “single, more efficient building”.

School estates service manager Louise Playford said the proposal hopefully would “deliver real benefits by providing an educational establishment, fit for purpose, for today’s learners, which enhances the wider Levenmouth community.”

Ground consolidation work and land suitability checks were likely, while the linking of the two schools would require a full statutory consultation, under current legislation.

Ahead of a July 20 deadline, members agreed a funding bid should be prepared and submitted to SFT.