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  • Writer's pictureAyrshire Daily News

Topping out ceremony at £45m William McIlvanney campus

Exactly a year after the Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP, unveiled the foundation stone at the £45 million William McIlvanney Campus in Kilmarnock the building has celebrated its topping out.

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 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, 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.

Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council (and former Kilmarnock Academy pupil) said: “It’s remarkable to think of just how far this incredible investment has come in the space of a year and exciting to think about the many opportunities it will offer our young learners when it opens next year.

“William McIlvanney was one of Scotland’s most important writers, but started his professional life as a teacher, remaining a dedicated and passionate supporter of high quality education of all our young people throughout his life.

“It is entirely fitting that his name will be associated with this exceptional development for generations to come.

“It is a fantastic school campus that the whole community can be proud of.”

Brian McQuade, Managing Director of Kier Construction Scotland and north-east England added: “Kier has a solid history of building schools throughout Scotland.

“Work is progressing well in delivering this leading education facility with hub South West for East Ayrshire Council, which is set to benefit both students and the wider Kilmarnock community.

“Throughout the build, we have worked with local suppliers and contractors to ensure that the project boosts the local Ayrshire economy. Up to 200 people have been on site during peak periods of activity and to date we have created 19 apprenticeships, 16 work placements and 2 graduate traineeships.

“This has given local young people valuable experience working on a state-of-the-art building and a unique insight into the diverse range of roles available in this thriving industry.”

Ross Whip a S5 pupil from James Hamilton Academy, who did a work placement on the campus said: “I’m incredibly grateful to Kier for giving me a chance to try different things on my placement, helping me to focus my career aims.

“It’s a fantastic feeling to have had this experience and even better that this will be my new school soon, so as I walk through the building, I’ll be able to identify different areas where I made a contribution”.

Gemma Boggs, Education Delivery Director at the Scottish Futures Trust, added: “Well-designed buildings, fit for the whole community, of all ages to use have the power to transform lives.

“Through our Scotland’s Schools for the Future programme, new campuses such as William McIlvanney are doing just that – creating environments which provide pupils and community alike with modern, innovative spaces for them to learn, visit and connect.”

Michael McBrearty, Chief Executive of Development Partner hub South West Scotland added: “The William McIlvanney Campus is an ongoing success on so many levels. The enthusiasm of all participating partners working on this project is reflected in the excellent progress being made.

“This development has provided a multitude of educational activities for over 2000 students from schools and colleges across the region who have participated in project related events, as well as a number of opportunities for local apprentices and graduates who have gained fantastic experience site of this innovative new campus.

“Hub South West are pleased to be the development partner for the new campus, bringing together the expertise and vison of East Ayrshire Council, contractor Kier and the many other valuable contributors, and I look forward to seeing this wonderful new community campus open its doors next year.”

View more images from the topping out here:


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