Kirkcaldy’s long wait for new secondary school is almost over ...

We get a tour of the building site that will become the new Viewforth school

Standing on the roof of what will be the new public library for Kirkcaldy east, on a clear and sunny morning, you can see right across the Forth to the towers of the power station at Prestonpans.

From left: Paul Gallagher, property services, Fife Council; Martin Cooper, construction director with BAM and John Peden, architect. Pic: FPA

From left: Paul Gallagher, property services, Fife Council; Martin Cooper, construction director with BAM and John Peden, architect. Pic: FPA

It’s an impressive view...

And, just as impressive a sight from the ground are the towering steel columns holding up the massive concrete floors of the new school for Kirkcaldy east, which is taking shape at a rapid pace.

The roof is on the main section of the building and the wall panels are in place in the games hall, with the curved library building clearly visible on the right hand side as you look towards it from Windmill Road.

Everything is on schedule, within budget and progressing well, and it’s most certainly the cleanest building site I’ve ever been on.

We are bang on programme ... maybe even slightly ahead

John Peden, Fife Council architect

That’s just the way Martin Cooper, construction director of BAM Construction likes it.

BAM is currently carrying out its fifth school building project with Fife Council and has built up a good working relationship with the local authority.

“I make sure everything is kept as clean and orderly as possible,” he explained. “That way there is less likelihood of any accidents happening, which is something we pride ourselves on.”

And proof of that is that the team, led by site manager Steven Kelly, has just won BAM’s health and safety award for January to March from 20 sites across Scotland.

From left: Paul Gallagher, lead officer for property services with Fife Council; Martin Cooper, construction director with BAM and John Peden, Fife Council architect on the site of the new school

From left: Paul Gallagher, lead officer for property services with Fife Council; Martin Cooper, construction director with BAM and John Peden, Fife Council architect on the site of the new school

John Peden, the Fife Council architect, said: “We are bang on programme and maybe even slightly ahead. “This will be the fifth school we have done with BAM and all have gone very well.

“Each school is built on a flexible plan to suit the individual needs, taking into account the land available, and each school has a big say in what it would like to see included, which makes the buildings a bit more special.”

Martin Cooper said the floors were now almost all complete and the focus in the coming few weeks will be completion of the roof and the external walls, which will be a mixture of brick, cladding, render and lots of glass to keep the building bright and airy.

Externally, the car parks are almost complete, the construction of two grass pitches on the south side is under way, with the playing surfaces all levelled off and drainage being installed.

A further pitch on the other side will follow, with the construction of a fourth all-weather pitch in the plans.

Pupils get regular visits and have a say in build

The pupils and staff from the current Viewforth High School have been closely involved in the new school project from the outset.

As well as expressing their views on what they wanted to see included in the building, they have been on regular visits to view the progress and had regular updates from BAM Construction and the Council on what is happening on site.

Senior pupils and Fife College students have had the opportunity to go on work placements with BAM to learn the basics of construction and get hands-on experience of the building industry.

Martin Cooper explained: “There’s a skills shortage in the construction industry because of the recession, so we are happy to do these work placements to try to encourage the next generation to consider a career in this field.”

BAM has also sponsored five S2 pupils in a competition to design an eco hotel, offering help and advice.

New Viewforth: The facts and figures

Capacity is 600 pupils

Building cost – £25 million

It will include a library and local council offices

Rosslyn School will be relocated to the ground floor

Hot rolled steel beams - 2344 parts (723.64 tons)

Cold rolled steel beams - 725 parts (9.97 tons)

Number of steel bolts - 18583

24 flights of pre-cast concrete stairs

It will feature three grass pitches and one all-weather surface pitch