VIEWFORTH High is within touching distance of getting a newly-built school.
Almost four years to the day it controversially spiralled from top to bottom of Fife Council’s priority list, a £21m development is on the table, and it will go before councillors in February.
If they say yes, then Viewforth can finally dare to look ahead to the day a newly built, modern secondary school opens its doors on land at Windmill.
It will have better facilities and, the capacity will be greater - in short, everything parents and community groups have been fighting for in recent years.
Fife Council has £12m in its budget, and, in February, the Labour administration will look for approval to borrow the rest to give the east of Kirkcaldy a flagship new building.
The news comes just a few weeks after a meeting with parents, and, appropriately, it was shared first with a group of pupils on Thursday.
On their timetable was a meeting with Gordon Brown MP, Councillors Neil Crooks, chairman of Kirkcaldy area committee, and Bryan Poole, chairman of education as well as local members, Lawrence Brown and Arthur Morrison.
The pupils were all still in primary school when the Viewforth debate first started around 2004.
Back then the plan was to refurbish - the school was the only secondary in Fife without a pool or games hall.
That could have come through Lottery funding in 2005, but Viewforth lost out to Glenrothes High, but there was still talk of a ‘’seamless transition’’ to a new school … by 2011.
Then came that ‘’act of betrayal’’ in 2009 - the decision which kicked Viewforth into the long grass and left any plans hanging on the hope of developers building new homes in the area.
The current estimate of that happening is the middle of the NEXT decade.
But now, it has come full circle once more, with Mr Brown saying: ‘’This is the best Christmas present we could have given Viewforth.’’
The Kirkcaldy MP was with local councillors who met parents, pupils and teachers recently - and the politicians and senior officials were impressed with what they saw and heard.
Mr Poole said: ‘’We listened very carefully to them.
‘’It was clear they did not want to merge with Kirkcaldy High, They were completely committed to the area and to Viewforth - they wanted to protect that.
‘’They were also concerned this was going to drag on and on.
‘’They steered us towards refurbishing and renovating the school, but when we looked at it, it’d cost as much to do that as it would to build something new which could hold 600 pupils.
‘’That’s the best option and the one which will go to the Council in February.’’
Mr Poole expects other councillors to back the case for a £21m development - the biggest single project in Kirkcaldy since the creation of the new wing at Victoria Hospital.
GORDON Brown paid tribute to the parents who have campaigned to get a new school at Viewforth since 2004.
He also believes it will be a major component in the regeneration on the east of Kirkcaldy.
‘’This is a tribute to the parents who have been pushing the case for so long,’’ he said. ‘’It is also a vote of confidence in the pupils who are getting far better results thanks to the leadership of the staff here.
‘’This is a school that can grow even more in future years.
NEIL Crooks would love to see a new Viewforth emerge in the lifetime of the current administration.
With everthing now hinging on February’s decision, the chairman of Kirkcaldy area committee, is confident things could start to move quickly after years of frustration.
‘’We want to see something happening sooner rather than later,’’ said Councillor Crooks. ‘’We have been arguing for this for a long time.’’