The new learning campus will make a huge difference
Contracts have been signed and formal financial close reached on the project to build a new £25 million Ayr Academy Learning Campus at Craigie Estate – meaning construction work will get underway later this month.
The new campus – funded by South Ayrshire Council through the Scottish Government's Scotland's Schools for the Future programme, managed by the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) – is set to open in August 2017.
It will transform learning and teaching facilities for young people and staff, and provide enhanced sports facilities and outdoor spaces that can be enjoyed by the school and local community alike.
The school, which will have capacity for up to 1,000 pupils, will feature two unique 'learning plazas' – open spaces that can be used to bring together multiple classes for collaborative learning and discussions.
The sports and community facilities include an all-weather pitch, grass pitch, multi-use hall, two gyms and a dance studio.
The project will be delivered by hub South West, which was set up in conjunction with SFT and other partner organisations to deliver major public sector building projects. Construction works will be undertaken by Kier Construction.
Councillor Margaret Toner, South Ayrshire Council's Portfolio Holder for Lifelong Learning, said: "This is a milestone moment for the new Ayr Academy Learning Campus and heralds the start of this exciting construction project.
"While we will only now start to see sustained activity on the new school site, there's been a huge amount of work to get us to this point, and I want to thank everyone who has played their part over the last six years in getting us to where we are today.
"The new campus will ensure our young people can enjoy excellent learning and teaching in a modern and purpose-built environment that will deliver real and tangible benefits for years to come – that's something we're really passionate about as a Council. Thanks to its great location, it will also support partnership working between the school, Ayrshire College and the University of the West of Scotland, which will also offer exciting opportunities.
"I have no doubt the new Ayr Academy Learning Campus will make a massive difference for young people, staff, parents and families, and everyone in our wider community. And with fantastic facilities that will be available to the local community too, it's a win-win for everybody. I'm looking forward to work starting on site later this month."
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: "This is an important milestone for Ayr Academy, and I am pleased that construction for this new state-of-the-art facility will now begin by the end of this month.
"This school is the first of 12 school and health centre projects now being progressed across Scotland through the hub finance model following the Office for National Statistics (ONS) ruling that changes to the hub model adhere to updated EU accounting guidelines.
"These developments will make an enormous difference in local communities, not just in the jobs that the construction will bring, but in the health and education benefits they will provide to local people."
David MacDonald, hub Programme Director at SFT, explained: "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 very much look forward to seeing construction start on Ayr Academy very shortly and to seeing pupils being taught in modern, first-class facilities."
Michael McBrearty, Chief Executive of delivery partner hub South West added: "This milestone has taken months of planning between all collaborators involved in this fantastic project, but with formalities now complete, we will soon be able to see the new school taking shape.
"There is no question that this development will be of great benefit to Ayr and the surrounding area, and we are committed to delivering a first-class community facility that will have a long lasting impression on the town.
"We look forward to continue to work with South Ayrshire Council, Kier Construction, SFT and our other collaborators to deliver a school that pupils can be proud of."