Primary on the move in £2m repair project

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METHILHILL Primary School’s staff and pupils will have to move to a temporary campus for almost a year in order for the roof of the Sea Road building to be fixed.

Councillors at Fife Council’s policy, finance and asset management committee took the decision after rubber-stamping a £2.2 million project to replace completely the glass structure, which has been deteriorating due to thefts and vandalism.

Although no move is likely to take place until next Easter, two options are already being considered, with officers from the property services department looking at building a “temporary school village”, made up of classroom huts at Methilhill, or moving the whole school to existing huts at Buckhaven High School.

Either way, with the primary school being one of the biggest in Fife, the local authority faces a mammoth task - and one which it is not taking lightly.

Councillor Douglas Chapman, chair of the education and children’s services committee, said: “This is a major investment and a major undertaking due to the size and design of Methilhill Primary School. The safety of our children is of the greatest importance to us and it isn’t possible to carry out a renovation of this kind while the children are in the school.

“In order to meet our desired standards for health and safety, and to minimise the disruption, it was decided the best option for the school community would be to decant the whole school to a purpose-built school village for the major part of the work.

“I’d like to thank the Methilhill school community for the patience they have shown so far and ask that they work with us to make sure the temporary change of location is the best possible one for the pupils, which will cause the least disruption possible.”

In a bid to get that community support, the local authority held an information session in the school on Thursday, with parents able to view the plans for both the decant and the new roof.

There, they were told work had already begun behind the scenes on the project but the school would continue to operate as normal until building work begins next Easter

It is hoped this will be completed by December 2012.

Head teacher Barbara Thomson has written to all parents to let them know about the current options and stressed she would keep them informed. Methilhill councillor Tom Adams, who highlighted the problem back in April, added he was “pleased the administration had found the money for the roof”.