Fife’s new £50m high school opens its doors as debate starts on fate of former building

Fife's newest high school has opened its doors to pupils for the first time - as discussions open on what could happen to the building it replaces.

By Jon Brady, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 5:08 pm

Madras College pupils from St Andrews and the surrounding area are stepping into their new £50m building for the first time today.

S4-6 pupils have the privilege of being first inside the £50m complex, followed by S1 on Thursday and S2-3 on Friday.

Some restrictions will remain in place from before the summer break, such as a requirement for pupils and staff to wear face coverings unless exempt.

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Councillor Craig Walker, convener of Fife Council's education and children’s services sub-committee, said Wednesday was "quite a momentous day".

He added: "We’ve been working hard to bring a new secondary school to St Andrews and the surrounding areas for some time.

"A tremendous amount of work has gone into making this possible and I’m delighted that the pupils now have a state-of-the-art building to learn in."

Madras also has a new rector, former Balwearie High, Kirkcaldy depute head Ken Currie.

Madras College, St Andrews

He said the new building was "inspiring and innovative but above all functional and all on one campus".

Madras has historically been split across two campuses in St Andrews: Kilrymont Road and South Street, a mile and a half apart.

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The South Street site has been acquired by the University of St Andrews as part of the deal that gave the new Madras its new home at Langlands.

Building the new Madras College

Kilrymont Road, meanwhile, is being eyed up by one of Scotland's largest hospitality operators the Scotsman Group - until recently known as The G1 Group - which operates the Dolls House, Mitchell’s and Forgan’s restaurants.

It underwent a rebrand in June in the wake of swathes of criticism for its treatment of staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

Subsiduary Scotsman Developments Ltd - unaffiliated with the newspaper from which its flagship hotel takes its name - is holding a consultation on creating a new mixed use development on the former school site.

The group, headed by Scottish business mogul Stefan King, proposes repurposing the listed Madras buildings for residential, retail and leisure purposes and new housing, including 30% affordable homes.

At the topping out ceremony for the new school (Pic: Jamie Callaghan)

David Scanlon of Scotsman Developments said: "We're delighted to be giving the public the chance to shape our proposals for this exciting mixed-use development at the former Kilrymont campus.

"Our scheme will serve to regenerate the current brownfield site, retaining and re-using the existing listed school buildings, something I am aware will be greatly welcomed by the local community.

“Development will deliver much-needed housing, including affordable homes, local retail and leisure uses.

“I would encourage as many of those who are able to take advantage of this opportunity, ask any questions they might have and provide feedback.”

Four two-hour virtual Q&A sessions are being held across two dates to discuss the plans. These are at 2pm and 5pm on Thursday August 19 and Wednesday September 22 on a website set up especially for the consultation,

Paper copies of the online presentation and feedback form can be obtained by contacting Wardrop Strategic Planning Ltd, Cupar Business Centre, East Road, Cupar, KY15 4SX. Enquiries can also be made by calling David Wardrop on 07912 964 880 or emailing [email protected].

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