The milestone signals the official start of construction on the William McIlvanney Campus in Kilmarnock which will be delivered by hub South West Scotland with the build being undertaken by Kier Construction.
The facility will be provided by East Ayrshire Council through the Scottish Government’s Schools for the Future programme, managed by the Scottish Future Trust.
In December 2015, the council approved the total project costs of £45.303m. These will be met by funding from Scottish Government of £42.86m, which includes Gaelic provision within the new campus, with the balance being funded by East Ayrshire Council.
The new William McIlvanney Campus for 2-18 year olds will include the newly named Kilmarnock Academy and James Hamilton Primary School and Early Childhood Centre, bringing together two existing secondary schools and two primary schools in Kilmarnock, and will feature a new centralised facility for Gaelic language provision, called – Sgoil na coille nuaidhe – literally translated as New Woods School. This also translates, appropriately, as ‘new beginnings’.
Councillor Douglas Reid, leader of East Ayrshire Council welcomed this latest development.
He said: “This ambitious education project is great news for the young people and communities of Kilmarnock.
“We are committed to giving our young people the best possible start in life and this new campus will ensure they have access to the kind of facilities and learning environments they need as they progress through the different stages of the education curriculum and eventually into employment.”
David MacDonald, hub programme director at Scottish Futures Trust, said: “The Hub programme is an innovative approach to develop and deliver best-value community facilities which provides public bodies with a quick, efficient and value for money way of getting their projects into construction and helps secure and sustain local employment.
“I’m naturally delighted that construction of the William McIlvanney Campus will start very soon and look forward to seeing pupils and the community benefit when it opens.”
Michael McBrearty, chief executive, hub South West Scotland, added: “We are delighted to be collaborating with East Ayrshire Council and appointed contractor Kier Construction on this significant and innovative new facility.
“The William McIlvanney Campus project will generate substantial employment, growth and investment at a local level, whilst creating the infrastructure to support the ongoing education of the young people of Kilmarnock and the surrounding area.
“We appointed Kier Construction as the contractor on this new project as they have demonstrated a high level of commitment to delivering quality facilities whilst providing opportunities for the benefit of the local economy.”
Brian McQuade, managing director of Kier Construction’s Scotland & north-east England business, said: “We are looking forward to working together with East Ayrshire Council and our partners to create a first-class learning campus that will deliver lasting benefits for the pupils and the Kilmarnock community. Education is one of Kier’s specialist areas and we have an enviable track record in delivering similar projects in the sector.
This is a significant investment into the East Ayrshire economy and we look forward to working with the local community and providing valuable employment and training opportunities for suppliers and subcontractors based here.”
The new campus will be located on the existing site of James Hamilton Academy and New Farm Primary and Early Childhood Centre on Sutherland Drive, Kilmarnock.
Works will commence in the next few weeks and occupation is scheduled for 2018.