THE current St Columba's and Woodmill high school buildings are earmarked to be cleared and knocked down towards the end of next year.

They're being replaced by brand new facilities at the £223 million Dunfermline Learning Campus with Fife Council keen to move quickly to clear the sites on either side of Woodmill Road.

They want to prevent them becoming a "magnet" for anti-social behaviour and fire-raising and have now submitted two prior notifications for demolition.

Dunfermline Press: St Columba's High School.St Columba's High School. (Image: Newsquest)

A spokesperson confirmed that "both sites are to be completely cleared" and a detailed programme will be prepared for the demolition works which is "likely to start towards the end of 2024".

That will clear the way for redevelopment after the two new high schools at Halbeath open in August 2024.

Future use of the current sites is "still to be decided" but Councillor James Calder, convener of the City of Dunfermline area committee, is hoping for some "creative thinking".

He said: "I think it is really important that Fife Council considers the wishes of the community when it comes to the future of the sites.

"The council needs to look at the economic impact of losing the facilities on Abbeyview.

"I am also keen that we ensure the local community is properly served by local facilities and we need to ensure progress in the new hub.

"The reduction in swimming capacity in the West Fife area is also something that will need to be addressed.

"The area committee did agree we need to look at the feasibility of more swimming facilities in the area and I hope the administration takes this seriously.

"Hopefully there will be some creative thinking in the future of the sites."

Dunfermline Press: Woodmill High SchoolWoodmill High School (Image: Newsquest)

As reported previously by the Press, the delayed Abbeyview Hub, originally due for completion in September of this year, won't be ready until at least the Autumn of 2024.

The budget has also shot up from £7.5m to £9.5m.

Demolition of all the buildings at Woodmill also confirms the loss of community-use sports facilities, including the games halls and swimming pool which was used by the Fife Sports and Leisure Trust for lessons.

However the council said "no decisions" have been made on the future of the pitches yet, including the astroturf at Woodmill.

Cllr Gavin Ellis had voiced concern that the sites would be used for housing and suggested that, given the pressure on an ageing Carnegie Leisure Centre, the land could accommodate a new leisure centre and swimming pool.

Tasked with putting forward options to retain or enhance sports facilities on soon-to-be empty school sites, such as St Columba's and Woodmill and, two years further down the line, Inverkeithing High, council officers are expected to come back with a report next month.

On the plans for two Dunfermline schools, the head of property services, Alan Paul, had said: "The first phase will be to clear the existing buildings and the reason for that is because unfortunately former school buildings in particular seem to be magnets for anti-social behaviour.

"One of the reasons we're investing in a new learning campus is a consequence of anti-social behaviour which resulted in the loss of half of Woodmill due to a fire back in 2019.

"We know that these buildings have been the target of anti-social behaviour in the past and I think it would be prudent to assume they may be the target of similar behaviour going forward."