St Andrews parents call for Madras new-build

Madras College South Street viewed through Blackfriars Chapel.
Madras College South Street viewed through Blackfriars Chapel.

OPPOSITION is mounting against any proposal to redevelop the present junior school in Kilrymont Road as the new multi-million pound single-site Madras College in St Andrews - amid concern that education officials have already made up their minds it will be the eventual decision.

A group of “exasperated” parents from across North East Fife have launched an action group under the New Build, No Rebuild! banner to fight for a £40 million completely new secondary school and will launch their campaign against the refurbishment option at an open meeting in St Andrews on Monday.

The parents fear that, following the collapse of the proposed deal with St Andrews University to build a new school on land the institution owns, Fife Council is looking to rebuild the dilapidated Kilrymont Road building.

Alarmed by the prospect of the local authority “wasting valuable public money” on rebuilding an unloved 1960s ‘‘eyesore,’’ the prospect of pupils being taught in cabins for two years and potential disruption to the popular community use centre, the action group has been formed.

The group strongly believes that the Kilrymont site is not an option - a view held by former rector Lindsay Matheson who, along with an increasing number of people, favours Station Park - and have made their position clear to the Citizen.

Group spokesperson, Mrs Chris Wood, said that the council has committed to review all of the sites previously considered in 2009 for a new school, along with Craigtoun Park - now being viewed by many people as a non-starter as it would require all of the school roll to be transported there - and make a final decision on November 10 on the intended location for the school.

However, many parents believe that this is merely a PR exercise, and that the council has already made up its mind to refurbish Kilrymont.

New Build, No Rebuild! view this as unacceptable, and wish to see a completely new school developed at either Kilrymont, or elsewhere in the town.

Officials have cited the grade B listing of the Kilrymont School as making it impossible to demolish the existing buildings, but the campaigners believe that if it is the preferred site, Historic Scotland should be challenged, and consent secured to demolish it. They have pointed out that this is something that has been achieved successfully by others, and can be done relatively quickly.

Mrs Wood added,”As parents of present and future Madras pupils, we require Fife Council to build a new, state-of-the-art school, that will truly serve the needs of our children and the wider community now, and for the next 50 years.

“This must be done with the least amount of disruption to present pupils, since their education is of primary importance. We will not allow our children to be educated in temporary cabins as classrooms, or see the activities held in the well-used community use centre disrupted. Refurbishing Kilrymont is therefore not an option.”

The group is hosting an open meeting on Monday to launch their campaign and for anyone interested in seeing a new Madras College built. It starts at 7.30pm in Room 302 of the Kilrymont Road building.