East Ayrshire secures funding for education facilities

East Ayrshire Council has received confirmation of funding from the Scottish Government’s Learning Estate Investment Programme which will enable the construction of a new Doon Valley Community Campus in Dalmellington to go ahead and will also support the refurbishment of St Sophia’s Primary School in Galston. The investment programme offers up to 50% of the anticipated costs of these developments.

The new Doon Valley Community Campus will replace the existing Doon Academy and Supported Learning Centre, Dalmellington Primary School and Early Childhood Centre, Doon Valley Leisure Centre, and the previous award winning Dalmellington Area Centre which currently hosts the health centre, local council services and police services. Engagement with community stakeholders and partners will now move forward early in the New Year.

With an estimated budget of £30 million, the new facility will provide enhanced opportunities for vocational and workplace learning and support the delivery of a range of industry recognised qualifications with the aim of equipping young people more effectively for the world of work. There will also be provision for adult learning to support current collaboration with Ayrshire College and strengthen links with all wellbeing services to create a new integrated wellbeing hub.

Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council welcomed today’s funding announcement by the Scottish Government. He said:

“We’ve always taken great pride in the level of ambition we’ve set within our capital investment programme, but at the same time we recognising the contribution that high quality, well designed and properly maintained property assets can make to the prospects and aspirations of local people - and this is even more critical now as we try to support our communities through recovery and renewal in the wake of COVID-19.

“This funding announcement is fantastic news for two of our communities. The programme will help us deliver digitally enabled, low-carbon facilities, which are inclusive and welcoming places that meet the needs of the whole community.

“This investment will have a huge positive impact on the Doon Valley in particular, which we acknowledge as one of Scotland’s most deprived communities. Schools sit at the very heart of our communities, but the present Doon Academy is no longer fit for purpose - the building is deteriorating badly and is in desperate need to attention.

“The creation of the new Doon Valley Community Campus will be a real catalyst for change for the people of Dalmellington and the surrounding area, improving the improving the life chances of people of all ages in these communities.”

Funding has also been allocated to the £3.6m refurbishment of St Sophia’s Primary School in Galston, which has been the subject of much discussion and local consultation in recent years. However, most recently, the statutory consultation demonstrated overwhelming local support to retain and refurbishment the existing school. The school will be refurbished as part of the Council’s school investment plan and is likely to be the first school project to utilise EnerPHit technology in Scotland, making St Sophia’s an exemplar project for a sustainable and low carbon refurbishment going forward.  A design team has already been appointed and detailed designs will be developed over the coming months.

Councillor Reid continued:

“Today’s funding announcement further emphases the Council’s commitment and support for the St Sophia’s community and retaining the school’s future.

“This is an exciting project in terms of creating energy efficient school buildings - we’ve already had discussions with Scottish Future Trust and Zero Waste Scotland have also committed to support this innovative project, and I look forward to seeing this being progressed and delivering our ambition to achieve Carbon Zero.”