The newly modernised and extended Ballantrae Primary School and Early Years Centre has welcomed back pupils and teachers.
Work began in February of last year and despite a fire in June last year, which caused significant damage, the project has been completed only three months behind schedule.
Children, parents, and the local community came together for the official opening after South Ayrshire Council spent £1.954 million on the project which is set to boost learning for children in Ballantrae and beyond. The new extension is home to an innovative early years centre while the existing school building has been transformed into a modern learning environment.
The new extension has a reception area and offices as well as the early years centre with interactive playroom and an outside activity area. The main building now has a combined dining room and gym hall as well as fresh and vibrant classrooms. The modernisation and extension has also allowed the school to boost its green credentials with a new biomass boiler, solar panels and high performance insulation giving the school an ‘A’ rating for energy performance.
The children already rate their new look school… “I love the new entrance of the school; it is more welcoming for visitors.” “I love the new school and my favourite part is the new gym hall.”
The council is investing more than £113 million in schools over the next decade including: a new Girvan Primary, a community campus for Maybole including a swimming pool, a shared campus for Glenburn Primary and St Ninian’s Primary in Prestwick and a new Sacred Heart Primary School.
Ballantrae’s Early Years Centre will help the council meet Scottish Government targets to expand early year’s provision from 600 hours to 1,140 for all three and four year olds and eligible two year olds by 2020. The council is set to invest around £13 million to help make this ambition a reality.
Councillor William Grant, children and young people portfolio holder for South Ayrshire Council said: “The new extension is a fantastic addition to the school and the modernisation will ensure Ballantrae Primary will continue to educate children for many years to come.
“This has been a community project from the start, so when the extent of the fire damage became apparent, everyone rallied round and the result was only a delay of a few months which is a fantastic achievement.
A spokesperson for Ballantrae Primary Parent Council said:” The opening of the newly modernised and extended primary school and early years centre marks a significant milestone for the village; the finished building has far exceeded expectations.
“The parents, families and wider community have been overwhelmed with the end result. The children are delighted to be back and it almost feels like they were never away.
“South Ayrshire Council’s investment in the building will ensure that future generations of Ballantrae children will be educated in an environment which is able to adapt to the changing world about us.”