Official opening for new academy

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council's Education, Learning and Leisure Committee Councillor Alison Evison; Aberdeenshire Provost Hamish Vernal and Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities Keith Brown.
Chair of Aberdeenshire Council's Education, Learning and Leisure Committee Councillor Alison Evison; Aberdeenshire Provost Hamish Vernal and Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities Keith Brown.

The official opening of the new Ellon Academy Community Campus was held on Friday, December 11.

Aberdeenshire Provost Hamish Vernal and Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities Keith Brown marked the opening of the new campus on Kellie Pearl Way.

The new Ellon Learning Centre.

The new Ellon Learning Centre.

Two plaques for the school and bridge was unveiled in front of pupils, staff, councillors and representatives from Farrans Construction.

The £36million facility includes a 1,200-capacity school and opened in August with new modern classrooms, learning zones, library, canteen, theatre and drama studios.

Sport and leisure facilities include community rooms, games hall, sports halls, fitness suite and the five-lane 25 metre swimming pool which has already seen over 25,000 people take part in swimming sessions.

The Community Learning and Development team is now centrally located, compared with previously being spread over three buildings.

The new Ellon Academy swimming pool.

The new Ellon Academy swimming pool.

This has meant an increase in visitors as the team continues to support adult learners as well as young people.

In addition, North East Scotland College Ellon Learning Centre is part of the campus and offers full and part-time courses in subjects from construction to beauty therapy.

As part of the project a new footbridge called ‘Boatie Tam’s Brig’ has also been built connecting the campus to the town centre across the River Ythan and was named by a group of S2 pupils.

The majority of funding for the campus was provided by Aberdeenshire Council and also part-funded by the Scottish Government through the Scottish Futures Trust.

The ceremony recognised the work of all those involved in the planning and building of the campus as well as the contributions to the facility made by artist Mary Bourne.

Aberdeenshire Provost Hamish Vernal said: “It is an honour to open the campus and I thank everyone involved in bringing these facilities to fruition.

“I know a lot of hard work has taken place from planning to delivery to ensure that, from the pool to the community rooms, everything has been built to the highest standard for people of all ages to use.”

Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities Keith Brown said: “This new school was built as part of the first phase of the Government’s £1.8bn Scotland’s Schools for the Future building programme, and I am pleased that the Scottish Government was able to provide almost £19m in funding to help make this happen.

“Aberdeenshire Council has showed continued commitment to improving its school estate, and working in partnership with the Scottish Government and Scottish Futures Trust, this has enabled over a thousand pupils to be transferred into state-of-the-art accommodation.”

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education, Learning and Leisure Committee Councillor Alison Evison said: “This is truly a community facility with a real sense of local ownership of the campus from the art work on the walls to the buzz from people who visit.

Ellon and District Councillor, Isobel Davidson said: “This is a real community campus - secondary school, North East Scotland College and community access all on one site - a true school built for the future.

“The Aberdeenshire Alliance prioritised improvements to the school estate and the investment throughout the Shire speaks for itself with an extensive portfolio of new and refurbished primary and secondary schools and community facilities complete or in progress, from Portlethen to Banff, Fraserburgh to Drumoak, these new facilities have been welcomed by our communities.”

Fellow councillor Gillian Owen added: “For years the children of Ellon have had to attend a building that was no longer fit for purpose and on a split sight which was divided by a pretty busy road.

“Locally this has been long-awaited and if you just look at the building it is pretty amazing, our thanks needs to go to all concerned, not least the Rector Tim Mckay who has guarded this building to ensure that the locals have a facility that provides everything they need.

“There have been a few hitches but when you consider the build itself it would be a miracle if there weren’t any at all.”

In conclusion Cllr Owen said: “The sad thing is that it does appear to be an island in the middle of nowhere. The housing has yet to be built and obviously that is a key part of the plan which will bring the Academy closer and I look forward to the spade going in the ground.”