Sep 28 2012 by Craig Robertson, Kilmarnock Standard
A multi-million pound funding package has been secured for a radical plan to build a ‘super school’ in Kilmarnock.
Scottish Government officials yesterday awarded in the region of £18m for the major shake-up of secondary education in the town.
It goes towards a £27m scheme being worked on by council bosses to close James Hamilton Academy and Kilmarnock Academy, and merge them onto one campus. A completion date of 2016 has been set.
Council leader Douglas Reid said: “A new school would provide state-of-the-art accommodation matching the A-rated facilities presently enjoyed by pupils and communities at Grange and St Joseph’s campuses.
“It would deliver major educational benefits by providing an educational environment to meet the needs of learning and teaching in the 21st century”.
The proposals have been brought forward mainly because of the huge cost facing the council for a maintenance backlog at each school. They are two of the worst in the East Ayrshire Council area for their condition, according to surveys.
However, the super school plan is likely to prove controversial as parents have already raised eyebrows over the proposal, when it was first revealed by the Standard in July.
The new education campus will be built under a funding set-up which requires the council to contribute the remainder.
That will be done through a Non-Profit Distributing (NPD) funding scheme which differs from Public Private Partnership (PPP) set-ups in that profits for private backers are capped.
The Scottish Government part of the funding has come from their School’s for the Future scheme which aims to build 67 schools across Scotland by March 2018.
Education secretary Michael Russell said: “Providing the best-possible school accommodation is vital to the successful delivery of Curriculum for Excellence.
“The first two phases of Scotland’s Schools for the Future are already lifting thousands of pupils out of poor quality buildings.”