211 days until the bell rings

Key players in the building of the fantastic new Barony Campus gathered with pupil representatives this week to count down 211 days until the first bell rings to herald a whole new, bright future for young people in Cumnock, Auchinleck and all the surrounding communities.

Due to open on 20 August 2020, at the dawn of a new academic session, the innovative £68m building will mark a new highpoint in schools design, bringing pupils from five schools together on one campus, with state of the art classrooms, purpose built for the needs of pupils from early childhood to adulthood and a fantastic range of indoor and outdoor sports facilities available for wider community use.

East Ayrshire Council Depute Chief Executive, Alex McPhee welcomed speakers including Provost Jim Todd, Eddie Robertson, Managing Director for Morrison Construction Building Central, and Peter Gilchrist, who will be the Head of the new Campus. Also joining them were pupil representatives from the five schools which will be incorporated in the new buildings.

They are:

  • Cumnock Academy and Supported Learning Centre
  • Auchinleck Academy
  • Barshare Primary School, Supported Learning Centre and Early Childhood Centre
  • Greenmill Primary school and Early Childhood Centre
  • Hillside Additional Support Needs School

With the building still under construction, the visitors were treated to a sneak preview of what a  completed classroom will look like. They also crossed the link bridge to see the new indoor sports centre, and were treated to a performance from Cumnock Academy Brass Band in the spacious 530 seater auditorium.

Covering 18.15 hectares, with 2km of pathways in the surrounding area, the campus is exceptionally eco friendly, using innovative materials to reduce current energy costs by an anticipated 80%.

Provost Todd remarked: “It’s a great pleasure to see these buildings take shape. It’s testament to the confidence we hold in our young people that we’re prioritising and providing such a ground breaking campus which will bring huge benefits to the education and wellbeing of the whole surrounding community.

“I’m particularly impressed at this example of one of the new classrooms, it will provide staff with the best possible resources and to will heighten the aspirations and self confidence of those who learn in them.

“This exciting new campus, together with all the regeneration projects we’re continuing to pursue in the surrounding area, are having a tangible effect. It’s very exciting to see how our investment in buildings and people means this community is getting a chance to flourish and fulfil its tremendous potential.”

Eddie Robertson, Managing Director for Morrison Construction Building Central, said: “It’s fantastic to see future pupils and teachers get a glimpse of where they will start their school journey in August. After all they will be the life and soul of the space which has been expertly and thoughtfully designed to ensure everyone thrives inside.

“The team on site at Barony Campus is progressing very well with the build and inviting the pupils to site is just one of many ways they are engaging the school and the wider community in this incredible project.

“I’ve enjoyed hearing first-hand the positive feedback the new school is receiving and I’m sure this will be echoed by classmates and teachers when they begin to use their new school at the start of the 2020/21 term.”

Peter Gilchrist, Head of Barony Campus said: “This Campus really does have the wow factor and it’s incredible to think that from August, all the children and young people between the ages of 2 and 18 years from miles around will have the privilege of attending this superb Campus. There will be endless opportunities for them to achieve their potential at Barony Campus.”

Pupils from local schools were excited to get a preview of some of the facilities in their new Campus. Cumnock Academy pupils, Molly and Emily are looking forward to moving into  their new campus. They said “We can’t wait! This new Campus is so different and so modern and we love the new sports facilities!  There will be more opportunities for us to make more friends and be part of more sporting teams.”

Jayden from Barshare Primary said: “I’m really looking forward to looking out of clean shiny windows and enjoying the new sports facilities and advanced technology.”

Lucas from Hillside School said: “I  can’t wait to try out the pool and the new café!”

Set out as a series of four interconnected buildings The Barony Campus will provide accommodation for Early Years, Primary and Secondary learning communities including young people with additional support needs in schools named:

  • The Robert Burns Academy
  • Lochnorris Primary School
  • Cherry Trees Early Childhood Centre
  • Hillside School

Provision for pupils requiring additional support will be second to none, featuring six fully equipped classrooms, dining facilities, a hydrotherapy pool, a state of the art sensory room and additional therapy spaces.

In this digital age, pupils will all have access to the very latest technology and facilities to enhance their learning. Among the many outstanding features within the new Campus will be wi-fi technology which will enable learners to work flexibly across the campus in different learning environments; interactive teaching aids and Scotland’s first interactive and immersive room – a high-tech audio visual space where learners can be part of a virtual environment.

The new Campus offers an unprecedented level of sports provision, including two full sized, flood-lit synthetic pitches of world class rugby standard which are already open for school, sports club and public use, a 400m 4-lane running track with 6 lane sprint, 2 full sized grass pitches, a 7 aside floodlit synthetic pitch and an outdoor basketball court, together with 13 indoor courts in various configurations.

Community recreation space will include a community café, meeting rooms, a theatre space, enterprise kitchen for catering, recording studio, music practice rooms and project space for textiles/crafts and pottery.

The Barony Campus will open its doors on 20 August 2020.