John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister for Scotland and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills has today (Wednesday 12 October 2016) unveiled the foundation stone at the £45 million William McIlvanney Campus in Kilmarnock.
Due for completion in 2018 and named in honour of the world-renowned author who was born and educated in the town, the Campus is being provided by East Ayrshire Council, through the Scottish Government’s Scotland’s Schools for the Future programme.
This will be delivered through the Scottish Futures Trust’s hub programme by Hub South West, with construction work being undertaken by Kier Construction.
The William McIlvanney Campus will host the new James Hamilton Primary School and Early Childhood Centre, with Kilmarnock Academy and James Hamilton Academy also transferring and merging to form a new Kilmarnock Academy.
A third new school, Sgoil na Coille Nuaidhe, offering Gaelic language provision will replace the Gaelic Medium Education provision currently offered at Onthank Primary School and Grange Academy.
Welcoming Mr Swinney, Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council said: “I’m delighted that John Swinney has joined us to share in this important milestone and I know he shares my view that this is a significant and ambitious investment for the young people and communities of Kilmarnock.
“Willie McIlvanney was passionate about the provision of good education for young people and the unveiling of the foundation stone marks another positive chapter in the development of this exciting story for Kilmarnock.
“It will give our kids the best possible start in life ensuring they have access to the first-class learning environments needed to succeed in school, work and in life and will be a long-lasting and fitting tribute to the man.”
Mr Swinney said: “I would like to thank East Ayrshire Council for inviting me to help mark the start of the process which will result in a fantastic school campus that the whole community can be proud of.
“I am delighted that the Scottish Government has provided £24.5 million to this innovative project, and I am particularly pleased to be able to unveil the foundation stone for the campus named in honour of one of Scotland’s great writers, William McIlvanney.
“It is incredibly fitting that this state-of-the-art educational accommodation will be named after a man who started his professional life as a teacher and remained a dedicated and passionate supporter of the quality education of all our young people throughout the remainder of his life.”
Michael McBrearty, Chief Executive of development partner hub South West Scotland added: “Hub South West are delighted to be a part of this exciting and innovative new campus that will substantially improve the provision of education and community facilities across East Ayrshire.
“Today’s event marks yet another milestone in this flagship development, as well as another significant achievement regarding the ongoing collaboration between hub South West, Kier Construction and East Ayrshire Council.
“As work continues on the new William McIlvanney Campus, there is no question that this project will be of great benefit to the people of Kilmarnock and the surrounding area, and we are committed to delivering a first-class facility that will have a long-lasting impression on the town.”
Managing director of Kier Construction’s Scotland and & north-east England business, Brian McQuade said: “Kier is a UK leader in education, and we’re delighted to work with hub South West Scotland on behalf of East Ayrshire Council to build this leading education facility which will benefit future generations for years to come.
“Around 200 people will work at the William McIlvanney campus site during peak times and we’re committed to using local suppliers and subcontractors to provide a diverse range of training, apprenticeship and employment opportunities and to stimulate the Ayrshire economy throughout the construction process.”
Members of William McIlvanney’s family, including his partner Siobhan Lynch witnessed the unveiled of the foundation stone, with MPs, MSPs, local elected members and a range of guests.
Work on the Campus is scheduled for completion early in 2018.