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Dunfermline Learning Campus completes ahead of new term

July 9 2024

Dunfermline Learning Campus completes ahead of new term

The finishing touches are being applied to Dunfermline Learning Campus after its formal handover to Fife Council from BAM Construction ahead of its official opening following the summer break.

Offering a new home for St Columba’s RC High and Woodmill High the new campus has been designed by AHR and has been under construction since September 2021.

Fife Council’s education spokesperson, cllr Cara Hilton, commented: "This build has been a huge investment from Fife Council in the future of Fife’s young people. With help from our partners, we are building schools across Fife which are ground-breaking in their design and function."

Shared facilities include a 'Learning Lab', media studios, recording booths, and creative project spaces. The campus also hosts learning plazas, breakout booths, digitally enabled learning spaces, and a range of outdoor facilities.

A joint initiative by Fife Council and the Scottish Government the campus also includes a new home for Fife College designed by Reiach & Hall. The first three images are taken by Keith Hunter Photography.

Collaboration will be encouraged between both co-located schools and Fife College
Collaboration will be encouraged between both co-located schools and Fife College
Social spaces will encourage group learning
Social spaces will encourage group learning

The campus is billed as potentially the largest passivhaus building in the UK
The campus is billed as potentially the largest passivhaus building in the UK
The purpose built campus includes a multi-use games hall
The purpose built campus includes a multi-use games hall

8 Comments

Fat Bloke on Tour
#1 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 9 Jul 2024 at 15:54 PM
Bit stodgy -- shown up in the earlier photos that have been removed.
Big miss is the lack of covered space / wintergarden that would have allowed outdoor socialising even when it was raining.
No figures regarding the cost which would appear to suggest that a horse was choked.
Co-location of schools and a further education college suggests that secondary education to 16 is under threat and shovel handling / mail bag sewing / erse wiping will be on offer for poor 14 year olds that the education system has given up on.
Not good.
Steve Jobs
#2 Posted by Steve Jobs on 9 Jul 2024 at 17:20 PM
FBOT once again in there like a rat up a drainpipe with unhelpful negative word salad. The history of this site has been extremely problematic from Hyundai to Motorola promising investment and running a (few thousand) mile(s).
The reality is that both high school buildings were crumbling to pieces and the college that will complete the learning campus was also a real mess of a building.
What’s been achieved here in a relatively short turnaround will make a huge difference to young people in the Dunfermline and West Fife area and I think all involved should be applauded.
Ill-informed comments by #1 and the likes really should go straight in the bin.
Fat Bloke on Tour
#3 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 9 Jul 2024 at 18:17 PM
#2 -- Sorry but that is excuse-mongery of the worst sort.

It would appear that site management / building issues now drives education policy in Fife -- what is it about the lazier reaches of the public sector that they cannot maintain their estate?

Building new education facilities in a formerly industrial site / industrial area seems to be a local authority trying to play a side hustle by moving to remote location / unloved site @ stack-a-pleb education while gaining three large sites to punt to the private sector housebuilders for serious amounts of cash.

John Major -- remember him -- allowed the education establishment down south to try and replace education with training for those in the system that the teaching profession had given up on.

Not a good look then -- it was canned after pushback from all elements of civil society -- and hopefully beyond the pale now.

However given the recent trends in Scottish education where part-time teaching cannot be far away -- they came for the Friday afternoon / they will come for Friday mornings ... -- any move to training over education needs to be opposed and opposed loudly.

Finally not much mention of the playing field provision for the three establishments -- I wonder why?

Steve Jobs
#4 Posted by Steve Jobs on 10 Jul 2024 at 09:47 AM
I’d be the last person to deny that there are many examples of poor strategic planning and short-term thinking from local authorities across the country. This site and indeed the wider Duloch/Eastern expansion area of Dunfermline is perhaps an example of this and yet despite its flaws it remains one of the most desirable places to live in this area.

Of course, we’d all love to fire up the Delorian and head back to the mid 80’s when this urban expansion masterplan was on the drawing board but funnily enough that’s not going to be possible. My comments are based on the here and now and what can and has been realistically achieved with a multitude of constraints.

Your comment about estate maintenance is valid but I wonder if you realise that all three separate sites are riddled with damp, asbestos and RAAC. Indeed, one of the schools was 50% burned down which was the catalyst for the combined campus build.

Re-development of the 3 existing sites is yet to be revealed and I agree it would be travesty if the council rolled over and wholly took the private house builders’ money. I know there are strong calls for a mix of housing and green/civic spaces to knit together these sites.

Yes, the new campus site is on the periphery of the city, but it is in a primarily residential area. The location makes more sense when you consider that a large % of Fife College and Saint Columba’s (Catholic School) students arrive from the east, the proximity to existing road infrastructure (busses + large park and ride) are actually very good in this regard and will help to reduce congestion.

The two existing high schools have a combined 2No grass pitches and 2No all-weather pitches. The existing grass pitches are completely hopeless for sports due to a total lack of drainage making it only good for dog walking and mushroom picking. The college has zero grass/outdoor facilities.

The new combined campus will provide 4No full-size all-weather sports pitches, a further 4No (combined) smaller all-weather pitches and 2 full size grass pitches along with a series of indoor gym/sports facilities that will be available to all 3 educational institutions and the public. The site itself has generous green spaces to the east and is in close proximity to Duloch woods and Duloch park to the south/west.

It may not be perfect, but hey it’s a whole lot better than all 3 existing crumbling sites and indeed it’s a whole lot better than a partially demolished brown field former Hyundai/Motorola site that has never been occupied. Without the campus this site would have either remained a scar on the landscape for a further 25 years or rolled over to 100% housing.

For these reasons, I resent your petty criticism and once again reiterate that this campus will be an overwhelmingly positive facility that I know the local community welcomes.

I’d suggest you return to your Minecraft world of make believe.
Fat Bloke on Tour
#5 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 10 Jul 2024 at 10:44 AM
#4 -- I fear you have skin in the game and are not taking valid criticism well. As for your Delorean comment you seem to have skills in the opposite direction -- an ability to see into the future and the sunny skies scenario that awaits the development.

I hope you are right but all the recent evidence points to a future worrying about the flaws that have been built into this iteration of public sector construction.

So back to my main points ...
The design to me is poor / over developed with no attempt to engage with the Scottish weather and provide cheap large scale controlled environment space -- a wintergarden / rain shelter that could have many uses many unknown at the moment.
The need for large scale classroom blocks in this proposal would provide most of the edge shelter with most of the cost being in the roof.

Another point about playing fields seems to have been answered by your detail and the Google Maps view of the site -- just a case that the indoor space looks small and no mention of playing fields was made in the original article.

As far as my concerns about a re-turn to the dog days of John Major and the drive by the Tories to get some of the working class out of education and into training at 14 well I really am truly behind the curve of the reality of 21st century Scotland.

In my defence these "opportunities" were never offered to my children or the children of my neighbours but from the Fife College website they seem to well established where children can be introduced into the world of training -- spade twirling / erse wiping / mail bag sewing ... -- while still officially of school age.

No wonder horizons for many are so low.
No wonder we couldn't make use of such a huge industrial site.

Then you have to wonder what education system we have now that 10% -- hopefully not 20% -- of their charges are just forgotten about and outsourced as quickly as an alternative can be found for them. It points to a system that does not have the humanity or sophistication to make the most of the human resources that they are provided with. Just a desire to segment and stratify their charges from the off.

You have to question the need for nursery education if all that effort over 25 years is leading to less engagement in education in their teenage years.

What next for Dunfermline -- standing next to a loom at 12 or maybe even 10 where the small fingers deliver an economic advantage?

Training at 14 -- the shame of modern Scottish education.
At least it keeps down the demand for free higher education.
Middle class welfare is a must -- at any cost.
No wonder the Forger's Gazette is so popular.
Daily Mail to those that didn't take history.
Steve Jobs
#6 Posted by Steve Jobs on 10 Jul 2024 at 11:21 AM
Not sure what can be said after a further epic socio-political essay from your good self fbot. I’ve no involvement in the project whatsoever but do know the area well.

I think criticism on this forum is largely valid and healthy, in this case I really do think we have to agree to disagree.
Fat Bloke on Tour
#7 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 10 Jul 2024 at 13:13 PM
#6 -- a bruise was punched on two counts.
Main thing for me is that we do not design for our weather.

Loads of rain throughout the year so we do not provide covered areas to make everyday life that bit easier when the heavens open.

Nothing fancy required just an appreciation that shelter would improve the quality of our civic spaces.

Training at 14 -- I will leave that for other forums.
KLD
#8 Posted by KLD on 11 Jul 2024 at 10:55 AM
Is there a reason why schools are virtually never more than a few storeys high?

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