Dunfermline pool in deep water
ANOTHER Dunfermline pool could go down the drain under Fife Council's plans to shut school swimming pools.
The new Dunfermline High currently being built does not include a pool and now St Columba's could lose theirs.
The education and children's services committee has given the go-ahead for public consultation on closing the pool, under proposals which could also see pools at St Andrew's High in Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes High shut and the spaces reused for other purposes.
Councillors said the investment needed to bring the pools up to an acceptable standard - between £410,600 to £513,100 - was not an option.
Pupils, staff, parents and community use clients will be consulted on the potential closures and how the space could be put to better use.
Fife's education service currently operates and maintains 14 school swimming pools, including Inverkeithing, Woodmill, St Columba's and Dunfermline, and more closures could follow due to their age and upkeep costs.
A report to the education and children's services committee last week explained that 11 of the 14 pools were past their operational lifespan of 30-35 years.
The report by Kenneth Greer, executive director of education, stated, "Over time, the education service swimming pools have become more difficult to maintain.
"This is a direct result of both the age of the swimming pools and a lack of investment over an extended period.
"Short- and long-term closures have been required, at times, because the equipment required to sustain the swimming pools cannot be renewed or updated.
"Additionally, maintaining appropriate hygiene standards has become increasingly difficult due to the lack of refurbishments and investment in changing room areas, toilets and pool surrounds."
The report said the 14 pools cost £227,563 in gas and electricity annually and £1.7million was needed to bring all of them up to school standard.
The bill would increase to just under £2million to bring the pools up to community standard.
This would include refurbishing plant rooms, changing rooms and pool surroundings and installing adequate fire exits in pool areas.
Mr Greer said upgrades would "incur significant capital costs", adding, "The budget is not available within the service capital programme."
The report stated the proposed consultation programme "represents the only option unless significant funds can be identified".
Mr Greer continued, "It is recognised that any closure would be a loss of a facility to a school.
"The service would work with headteachers and staff to identify a project plan for an alternative curriculum facility.
"While capital funding for this type of project is limited, it is hoped that by removing these swimming pools, multi-purpose areas would be created, providing much more flexible accommodation for these schools."
Committee chair, Councillor Douglas Chapman, said, "The school swimming pools in Fife have suffered from a substantial lack of investment in the past decades and almost all of them are well past the expected lifespan of a swimming pool.
"The pools are underused both by the schools and for community use and many are experiencing regular closures for maintenance and repairs.
"We have already spoken informally to pupils and headteachers to determine how they feel about proposed pool closures and there's overwhelming agreement that the space within the school would be far better used in other ways, such as dance studios or additional sports halls.
"We would work with the schools to ensure that the closure of a pool would not mean a loss of facility and through consultation and planning we will be looking at alternative ways to use the space."
The consultation results will be brought back to a future committee for consideration.
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Mar 11, 18:02
It's an absolute outrage that no pool is being built at the new High School.
Can't imagine there is much life left in the one at Woodmill either. From my days there I remember it being about 50% chlorine, 50% water and was only 4 ft 6 at the "deep" end !
Investment in sport and fitness in our schools is a national scandal.
Recommend? Yes 4 No 3
Mar 12, 15:21
I agree that good sporting facilities in our schools are a must but im not so sure that swimming pools are that important nowadays.
Most children learn to swim at a young age by going with their parents to the swimming baths.
If the upkeep of a pool in school is too prohibitive then i can understand the want to save money.
Anyway the way i remember it, by the time you got undressed, dipped your big toe into the pool, it was time to get changed again
Recommend? Yes 3 No 0
Mar 13, 14:36
This comment has been removed by a moderator
Mar 13, 14:37
I can't imagine many pupils being too fussed. At a time of great physical and emotional change, being forced into a state of semi-nakedness amongst their sometimes less than supportive peers can often be a fate worse than death to some. Swimming should be a voluntary element of education, not a mandatory one.
Recommend? Yes 9 No 4
Mar 14, 11:52
Brynhils has hit it right on the head - why do we need a pool!! Also I can well remember the 'psychopaths' that were gym teachers in the 1970's they assume that all are interested in sport - WRONG- the whole subject is a costly non event.
I well remember Mr McDonald, Comfort and Rodden - the worst school bullies in the place!!
Recommend? Yes 3 No 2
Mar 14, 22:37
I think the above comments about school swimming pools are well away from the truth.
Maybe if you live in a town with a swimming pool (that isn't most of us though) and maybe if your parents can swim (maybe half or less) then you might be taught to swim by your Mum or Dad. But for me and all of my friends at the time we were taught to swim at school and a damn good job they made of it. Less than 1% of Dunfermline population use the public swimming pool based on council attendance figures.
And as for unsupportive naked peers - words almost fail me. All school sport (and it is and should be an obligation in this day of fat tv-addicted kids and their fat tv-addicted parents) involves communal changing rooms and some degree of (gosh! blush! wow!) seminakedness. A fate worse than death!!!! - What absolute drivel.
Recommend? Yes 3 No 2
Mar 15, 12:04