The Campus, built by Morrison Construction, was officially handed over to the Council on Friday 9 October. Young people who previously attended Auchinleck and Cumnock Academies and the secondary Supported Learning Centre, began attending their new school on Monday 26 October.
Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of the Council and Councillor Fiona Campbell, Spokesperson for Skills and Learning visited the Campus, following strict Covid-19 measures, to view the new facilities and speak to the young people from The Robert Burns Academy and secondary Supported Learning Centre.
Councillor Reid said: “The excellence of the Barony Campus reflects the Council’s ambition to provide state of the art educational facilities for all and I am so proud that the young people of The Robert Burns Academy are now able to enjoy their new school.
“That a project of this size and complexity was delivered with just a three month delay, arising from lockdown, is credit to Morrison Construction and the Council’s project delivery team, led by Depute Chief Executive, Alex McPhee. This team has literally been working day and night, in challenging conditions, to ensure that the school was ready to welcome our young people and I would like to thank them on behalf of the Council.
“I would also like to thank our local contractors who worked on site and the contractors that employed local people during the build process; these include Character Joinery, Johnston Joiners, D&D Decorators, MacGregor Flooring, Castle Building Services, Malcolm Group and WVB.
“Part of the Council’s team are still on site and are now working to ensure that Lochnorris Primary School and Supported Learning Centre, Cherry Trees Early Childhood Centre and Hillside School will be ready to open on Wednesday 18 November.
“I have to be honest; this isn’t how we envisaged the official opening of The Robert Burns Academy. We wanted to join with parents, carers and the local community to share the excitement and the pride we feel towards the facility and our young people. As soon as we are able, we will hold a celebration event worthy of this incredible Campus.
“Until then, a passport to the Barony Campus and a short video is available on our website so that you can visit the Campus virtually and find out more about the facilities.”
Councillor Fiona Campbell said: "The Barony Campus will ensure that our children and young people will have every opportunity to achieve their full potential. The educational facilities are exceptional, utilising the very latest technology including Scotland’s first interactive and immersive video room.
"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 open for school, sports club, and public use; a 400m 4-lane running track, two full sized grass pitches, a 7 aside floodlit synthetic pitch and an outdoor basketball court, together with 13 indoor courts in various configurations, including a dance studio.
"Community recreation space will include an enterprise kitchen and community café, meeting rooms, a 550 seat auditorium, recording studio, music practice rooms and project space for textiles/crafts and pottery. This facility is going to be life changing for our children and young people, as well as for our communities, and is designed to help them to realise their dreams."
Peter Gilchrist, Head of the Barony Campus said: “What a superb opportunity we have with the opening of the Barony Campus. The Campus effectively brings together children and young people from the whole of the south of East Ayrshire and the benefits to their learning and their self-confidence can’t be underestimated.
“I have no doubt that the Barony Campus will become the beating heart of our community and the excitement and wonder we saw from our young people when they set foot in the new school this week was brilliant to see and really brought the building alive.”