The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Landmark Marr College fit for the future after extensive modernisation

Education for generations of people in Troon has been transformed following the completion of a comprehensive modernisation programme. The Council’s ambitious project to breathe new life into Marr College was marked at an official opening on Wednesday 29 November, with young people and parents among the 240 guests.


[Pictured left to right: Cllr Douglas Campbell (Leader of South Ayrshire Council); Douglas Hutchison (Director of Educational Services); Graeme Hobson (Acting Headteacher); Reece Jamieson (School captain); Gigha Anderson (School captain); John Swinney MSP (Deputy First Minister, Cabinet Secretary for Education & Skills); Eileen Howat (Chief Executive of South Ayrshire Council).] 

The £37m award-winning building, which received Scottish Government funding of £18.5m, was officially opened by John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills.

The project to transform the 1935 building began in spring 2015 when new all-weather facilities opened for use in June of that year. By December 2016 the new technical wing and the refurbished side of the Marr building became available. Finally, 2017 saw the opening of the south wing of the Marr building and the new PE block, helping to adapt the 20th century building to meet modern needs.

The work was completed as part of a £94million pipeline of works being delivered across South Ayrshire, with the aim of enhancing standards through targeted investment. The main contractor was Kier Construction in partnership with SWHub.

John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, said; “This is a truly fantastic school which showcases exactly what we hope to achieve through our £1.8bn Schools for the Future programme – modern, state of the art schools that allow our pupils and teachers to thrive and engage with learning in different ways.

“At the outset of the programme in 2009, we originally aimed to build or refurbish 55 schools across Scotland – we have now more than doubled that commitment and it is fantastic to see so many of these wonderful buildings, like this one here in Troon, now being completed.”

Councillor Douglas Campbell, Leader of South Ayrshire Council said the project would leave a lasting legacy. “Marr College has been a fixture in Troon for more than 80 years and our ambitious programme has enhanced the best of the building’s period features, while completely transforming parts of the estate.

“While young people and staff have been living in close quarters with our contractor in the last couple of years, the end result speaks for itself and the new look school’s already proving to be a big hit with young people.

“I’d like to thank all involved for delivering this fantastic project on time and on budget and l look forward to seeing the impact the new Marr College will have to enhance opportunities for young people for generations to come.”

Douglas Hutchison, South Ayrshire Council’s Director of Educational Services said the new look building had already made a positive impact. “Through consultation with the people of Troon we have returned Marr College to its former glory. 

“The creative blend of the old school, sitting alongside state of the art facilities, has combined to make this an award-winning building. 

“I’m confident this combination will help to inspire staff and young people to achieve excellence and be well prepared for future learning, life and work.”

School Captain, Gigha Anderson (16), said it been great to be part of the official opening. “It was an honour to showcase the fantastic facilities we now have at Marr College to the invited guests in what was a memorable evening.”

The Marr College modernisation recently won ‘Project of the year’ at the Education Buildings Scotland Awards, which celebrate excellence and achievement in the design and innovation of educational buildings across Scotland.

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.


Sunday, 26 November 2017

£100,000 Novice Chase added to Coral Grand National Festival Card

A brand new £100,000 race will be staged at the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival at Ayr Racecourse next April, bringing prize-money on the day to more than £550,000.


Sitting alongside the £215,000 Scottish National and the £105,000 QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle, the three-mile open novices’ handicap chase will further enhance the meeting which is already by far and away Scotland’s richest and most prestigious day’s racing.

The race will be a championship final for novice chasers who to qualify must have finished in the first eight in at least one weight for age novices or beginners chase during the 2017-2018 season, and will be supported by the BHA’s Development Fund as part of the Fund’s 2018 expenditure.

Ayr Racecourse managing director David Brown said: “This is terrific news and boosts further what already is an outstanding Festival.

“To have three races all carrying six figure prize-money underlines the quality of racing, and to have such a valuable novice chase alongside the Scottish Grand National and QTS Scottish Champion Hurdle is sure to put us on the radar of even more trainers than before. We look forward to next April with real anticipation.”

And leading northern jumps trainer Nicky Richard said: “Its excellent news for racing in general and particularly in the north that a race of this calibre is being added to an already quality card. Hopefully I’ll have a horse good enough to run in it.

“It’s another feather in Ayr’s cap to stage a third race worth £100,000 or more on the same day.”

Paul Johnson, Head of Racing at the BHA said : “The BHA Development Fund is there to support longer-term strategic initiatives to enhance the breed and we are delighted to announce the funding for the Ayr race and also a £100,000 novice handicap hurdle series final at Sandown on 28 April.

For further information please contact Iain Ferguson on 01292 294972 or 07795 565691.

Ayr Racecourse and the associated Western House Hotel are Founder Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.