At the recent meeting of Cabinet, detailed plans for the school estate were set out and priority areas for investment and improvement were agreed.
Each year local authorities submit a School Estate Management Plan (SEMP) to the Scottish Government that details investment plans, progress made on current projects and the vision for their school estate into the future.
In East Ayrshire, £129.65m has been invested in the school estate since 2012 and improvement projects are now continuing at pace following delays experienced due to Covid-19 restrictions. Loanhead Primary is due to for completion this month and it is anticipated that the school will move back into its refurbished building after the Easter holidays; Crosshouse Primary and Communication Centre will then decant to Kirkstyle to allow for refurbishment works and an extension to be begin. Netherthird Primary’s improvement works are due on site in summer 2021. While at Dunlop Primary the decision to build a new stand-alone Early Childhood Centre (ECC) means that the school can be upgraded and reconfigured, using the area currently occupied by the ECC.
Plans will see a further £178.21m being invested over the next five years. One of the most exciting projects will be the new Doon Community Campus, which will not only deliver exceptional educational facilities for children and young people but will also replace the existing leisure centre and incorporate the local Area Centre. Doon Community Campus, like The Barony Campus, will be at the heart of the community and the consultation process for the project is due to get underway shortly.
Another exciting project, which has created a great deal of interest nationally, is the refurbishment of St Sophia’s Primary using principles developed by the Passivhaus Institute in Germany. The leading edge Enerphit project aims to achieve some of the largest energy reductions in any school renovation to date.
Over the next few months, proposals will be developed to support a bid for the next round of funding for school improvements, focusing on the Kilmarnock North-West Schools (Onthank, Mount Carmel and Hillhead Primaries) and Lainshaw Primary. These schools are at the heart of growing communities and plans for their development will be subject to a full and comprehensive engagement process.
The Council’s plans have, and will continue to, create positive and inspiring learning spaces suitable for 21st century learning and teaching, enhance the local community and support positive experiences and outcomes for our children and young people.