First Minister opens Largs Campus as new school buildings top 750
The new £52 million Largs Campus was formally opened by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon last week, as the total number of new or refurbished buildings exceeded 750 since 2007.
Described as the “perfect place for young people to learn and develop” the Campus has potentially the biggest games hall in the UK and North Ayrshire Council’s partnership with sportscotland, whose Inverclyde base is next door, means pupils have access to a wide range of top-class sporting facilities.
The Campus – which comprises Largs Academy, St Mary’s Primary and Largs Primary - also has ultra-modern classrooms, with breakout spaces, across each of the three schools, and was delivered as a result of a collaboration between hub South West, the construction and infrastructure-focused partnership which works with local authorities and private sector enterprises, Morrison Construction and North Ayrshire Council.
Other features include art classrooms with balconies that enable the provision for outdoor working and two stunning theatres with lighting and sound systems as good as any theatre in Scotland. There is also an Early Years Centre with state-of-the-art facilities that incorporate parent rooms, family rooms and imaginative play and learning areas for young people.
The First Minister was given a tour of each of the establishments as she discovered just why the Campus is one of the finest facilities in Scotland.
Ms Sturgeon opened the new Largs Academy on the same day as Deputy First Minister John Swinney opened Dundee’s new Baldragon Academy, and education minister Shirley-Anne Somerville opened Edinburgh’s new Boroughmuir High School.
All three projects are supported by the Scottish Government’s School for the Future programme, with the new Largs Campus featuring new homes for Largs Early Learning Centre, Largs Primary, St Mary’s Primary as well as Largs Academy itself.
The Scottish Government’s Schools for the Future programme, which began in 2009, is investing more than £1 billion to deliver 117 new schools. 87 of those schools are now open – with the rest due to be completed by 2020. When combined with the number of schools built and refurbished by local authority partners – over 750 schools will have been rebuilt or refurbished since 2007.
The First Minister added: “I am delighted to officially open the tremendous new Largs Campus buildings. It’s clear to see that the pupils and staff are all enjoying and benefiting from their new learning environment.
“This is just the latest of the long list of schools now rebuilt or refurbished, with a hat-trick of High Schools open today. That’s a reflection of the importance of education as this Government’s number one priority.
“What’s more, not only do these new schools provide enormous benefits for the education of our children and young people, they also help the local economy with jobs and apprenticeship opportunities during construction, and will serve the wider community now that they are open.”
The First Minister was welcomed to Largs Campus by North Ayrshire Provost Ian Clarkson, Councillor Joe Cullinane, leader of North Ayrshire Council, Cllr Bell and North Ayrshire Council chief executive Elma Murray.
Afterwards, the First Minister unveiled the Campus’ new plaque and cut the celebratory cake.
Works on the Largs Campus began in August 2016 and contractors Morrison Construction finished works earlier this year. The two primaries and Early Years moved into the Campus in March before being joined by Largs Academy a month later.
Michael McBrearty, chief executive of development partner hub South West, added: “Largs is an outstanding new campus that hub South West is delighted to be a part of. To be at the official opening today and see pupils utilise this fantastic facility is a real testament to the hard work and innovation that all parties brought to the process of delivering the new campus.
“Largs Campus will provide excellent facilities for the wider community and transform education in the seaside town.The setting is spectacular and the opportunities for sport and outdoor learning in the neighbouring facilities are absolutely first-class.”
Morrison Construction operation’s director, Allan Cunningham, said: “It was wonderful to see the First Minister tour this fantastic campus and meet pupils and teachers who have been enjoying the state-of-the-art educational, arts and sporting facilities.
“We are proud to have delivered this project that will provide a lasting benefit to the community and which positively impacted on the local economy by supporting 25 work placements, 13 apprentices and creating 73 new jobs during construction.”