Work on one of Scotland’s most talked about capital investment project – the Barony Campus – officially got underway this week as pupils gathered on site for the ground breaking ceremony.
The £68m Barony Campus will incorporate The Robert Burns Academy, Lochnorris Primary School, Cherry Trees Early Childhood Centre and Hillside School, providing state-of-the-art facilities for children, young people and the local community.
Works commenced on Monday 30 April as contractors Morrison Construction started to prepare the Broomfield site for the construction of this exciting campus development. Works are scheduled for completion by summer 2020.
Pupils representing all five schools involved in the merger – 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 ASN School, were joined by invited guests including Leader Douglas Reid, Councillors Fiona Campbell, John McGhee and Tom Cook, and Jeane Freeman MSP, as they observed the scale of the early works taking place.
The Barony Campus will be one of the most exciting learning campus ever built in Scotland and when competed it will be the most significant building of its type in the country. Set out as a series of four interconnected buildings it will provide accommodation for Early Years, Primary and Secondary learning communities including young people with additional support needs.
Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council said: “After a considerable period of discussion, deliberation and consultation, it really is a pleasure to see this project coming out of the ground.
“It’s one thing to see the drawings on paper, but it’s only when you are on site that you really appreciate the scale of this project and the impact it will have on the lives of our young people and communities.
“East Ayrshire is leading the way with this Campus. This project has been brought to life thanks to the input from pupils, parents, teachers and the wider local communities. The design will provide a nurturing 21st century learning and teaching environment to enable every child and young person to reach their full potential, and members of the community in Cumnock, Auchinleck and the surrounding villages will also be able to take advantage of the facilities on offer.
“Provision for pupils requiring additional support will be second to none; the new Campus will feature six fully equipped classrooms, dining facilities, a hydrotherapy pool, a state of the art sensory room and additional therapy spaces.
“In this digital age, it’s vital that our pupils 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.”
Eddie Robertson, Morrison Construction’s Managing Director for Central Scotland, said: “We are excited to begin works on this state-of-the-art project, which is a major investment for Cumnock, Auchinleck and the surrounding areas.
‘‘We look forward to continuing our working partnership with East Ayrshire Council and delivering this wonderful education facility for pupils, staff and the community.
‘‘Throughout construction we will continue to engage with all stakeholders while creating education and employment opportunities to ensure the project has a positive local impact that endures once the development is delivered.”
The new Campus offers an unprecedented level of sports provision, including 2 full sized, flood-lit synthetic pitches of world class rugby standard, 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, theatre space, enterprise kitchen for catering, recording studio, music practice rooms and project space for textiles/crafts and pottery.
The two rugby pitches will be the first elements of the project to be completed. These will give both the community and the school early access to greatly enhanced facilities to those previously located on the grounds at Broomfield. These are scheduled for completion early 2019. These, and many of the other facilities planned as part of this development, will be available for community use, as well as local sports club bookings.