Clock now ticking for Madras joint project

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FIFE Council have agreed in principle on the type of sports facilities they want as part of the new Madras College project in conjunction with St Andrews University.

Negotiations between the council and the university are continuing as they try to reach an agreement over the new school.

But time appears to be running out for the joint project, with the council admitting they will explore other options if agreement on a site is not reached in the next few months.

Since last October, Fife Council has spent £117, 000 on professional fees associated with the project - including £52,000 “incurred due to the lack of agreement of the site and necessary background work to examine the various alternatives that have been proposed by the university.”

PROGRESS

The council’s policy, finance and asset management (PFAM) committee met last week to discuss a report detailing the progress of discussions between the local authority and the university.

The report recommended approval of a stand-alone school with PE facilities and access to enhanced university sports facilities.

But the option of redeveloping the current Kilrymont site has been kept on the table should agreement not be reached with the university over the preferred option at Langlands.

Some £40 million has already been allocated from the council’s capital investment programme for the replacement school.

In April last year, the education and children’s services committee agreed the business case for the development of the school to the west of St Andrews.

However, the council kept open the option of refurbishing and extending the existing Kilrymont building “should the partnership proposals with the university fail to crystallise.”

OPTION

The university oppose the option of a stand-alone school with no sharing of sport facilities. They believe this option would be a missed opportunity, and would potentially restrict their longer-term development plans for the site.

The option approved in principle by the council last week requires additional spending on physical education and sport facilities.

In 2009, a working group made up of representatives from the council, the university and beyond looked into the benefits of the new school working alongside the further education facility.

Their report said the scheme would lead to the sharing of best practice in learning and teaching, enhancement of school-university transition and extra support for pupils and students with additional support needs.

The issue could go back before the PFAM committee when it meets in June.