Young learners and residents in Bellsbank are celebrating as work officially began to build them a bright new Primary School, a superb new Early Childhood Centre and a stunning new community facility.
The new facilities represent a £6.1 million investment to replace the existing school with £4.65 million coming from East Ayrshire Council and an additional £1.45 million from the Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare capital funding programme.
The Council had already planned to create a new Primary School, but the additional government funding has allowed the original plans to be expanded and significantly enhanced, creating an exciting social, leisure and educational hub in the heart of the village together with early childhood facilities that meet the needs of the Scottish Government’s commitment to provide free childcare for all 3-5 year olds and eligible 2 year olds.
Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of the Council dug the first sod and saying: “I’m overjoyed that work is now starting on this exciting development for Bellsbank and, by next year, this area will be home to a stunning new building, offering something for everyone in the local community.
“The Bellsbank development builds on our unswerving commitment to make sure every young person in East Ayrshire benefits from the very best education we can possibly offer, giving them a fantastic head start in tomorrow’s world!”
The building work will also see Ashleigh Construction, the contractors, offer a number of local pupils work experience, with additional apprentices being taken on to learn on the job. Site visits and engagement events with the local community and schools are also planned, allowing the community to have an insight and up to date knowledge on the progress and eventual benefits.
Euan Clark, Commercial Director from Ashleigh (Scotland) Limited, the building contractors, added: “Bellsbank Primary School and Early Childhood Centre has been designed to fit effortlessly with its surrounding rural context. The single storey massing and traditional dual-pitch roof form will complement the landscape and enhance the character of the site.
“A high-quality brick will be used as the primary material; allowing the building to be distinguished yet remain considerate to the materials used throughout the surrounding village. The school has been designed to accommodate an Early Years Centre, as well as a creche for the neighbouring community.
“These facilities will establish Bellsbank Primary School and Early Childhood Centre as a precedent for education and community engagement within East Ayrshire.”
Councillor Fiona Campbell, Cabinet Member for Skills and Learning added: “Education is at the heart of the Council’s ambitious Capital Investment Programme and the new facilities in Bellsbank will deliver an inspirational and exciting new environment in which our youngest citizens can learn, develop and grow.
“Building on this commitment, we also have plans to create a new campus for Doon Academy and Dalmellington Primary School, which will include additional community facilities, creating a host of fantastic learning, social and leisure opportunities for all our Doon Valley residents and for generations still to come.”
“It’s an exciting time for our Doon Valley learners and communities.”
The new Bellsbank school and ECC is scheduled to open in spring 2020.