Designers appointed for Knockroon Campus

13th March 2016

Proposals for the ambitious state-of-the-art Knockroon Learning and Enterprise Campus are a step closer to becoming a reality following the appointment of Sheppard Robson as the design team for the new facility.

The appointment is an important milestone in this £63.5m project and it follows an extensive procurement exercise undertaken by East Ayrshire Council in partnership with the Royal Incorporation of Architects Scotland (RIAS).

No fewer than 26 companies submitted an expression of interest to undertake the work of designing the new school. Five companies were shortlisted and invited to present their strategy to deliver the project.

The brief for the work was based on the Council’s vision for the new campus: 21st century learning and teaching; nurture, support, inclusion and community access at its heart; a focus on health and wellbeing within the campus and enhanced outdoor facilities for the schools and for the local community.

A group of community stakeholders, including pupils, parents and teachers from the local schools, together with representatives from sports clubs and community groups were invited to attend and observe the presentations. After each presentation the group had an opportunity to discuss and feedback their views on the respective design teams.  This feedback was collated and presented to the selection panel prior to their final evaluation of the design teams.

Alex McPhee, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Financial Officer, said:

“The project attracted interest from some of the world’s biggest architectural companies and Sheppard Robson showed they have a real understanding of our ambitions and how they can be delivered.

“This award winning company has a proven track record for delivering quality and excellence in state of the art projects and for successfully involving and engaging with local communities throughout the design process. They know that our aim is to provide an inclusive campus that will inspire our young people and the staff who work with them and to provide facilities that will meet the needs of the various community groups who will have access to it. We are looking forward to working with them to develop the designs that will make that happen.”

The procurement process itself was a departure from the norm, allowing local stakeholders to watch the process and give their impressions of what they had seen. This approach received positive feedback - even from an unsuccessful design team who wrote to say that it was: “A masterclass in professionals’ procurement competition. Well organised, courteous, right balance and prompt and insightful scoring and feedback.”

Rupert Goddard, Partner at Sheppard Robson, said:

"We are very excited to have the opportunity to work collaboratively with the communities of Auchinleck, Cumnock and the surrounding area on this complex and sensitive project.”

Looking ahead, a priority for the design team will be to lead on a comprehensive public consultation, seeking the views of pupils, parents, community groups, local residents, businesses, sports clubs and other interested parties to influence the design of the campus.