Media release: Nursery garden and mini woodland get the ‘green light’

Onthank ECC-22 copy

EVERYTHING in the garden is rosy after the completion of a comprehensive makeover of a local authority nursery.

A mini adventure woodland and garden form part of the new-look Onthank Early Childhood Centre in Kilmarnock that underwent a nine-month, £500,000 transformation.

The project was completed by Strathaven-based Procast last Friday, September 11, and was handed over to the delighted staff who posed for socially-distanced photos with some of the company’s employees.

Such was the satisfaction with the completed work, the Procast team were presented with home-made cakes, sweets and even an original poem, penned by the appreciative staff.

The exterior refurbishment involved the formation of 2,000sq m woodland and garden areas, including a water channel and feature, solid oak pergola, slide, resin paths, seating, sandpits, mud sinks and about 140 freshly-planted trees.

Internally, the works involved the construction of a boot room extension and the reconfiguration of classrooms, staff rooms, bathroom areas and stores.

Rigorous procedures and processes relating to traffic management, security and housekeeping had to be adhered to because operations were carried out partially during term time when the children were present.

Procast director, Frank McManus, said: “This was a very rewarding project but logistically challenging, as we had to manage a large volume of down-takings and utility modifications in a live school environment and carefully plan and manage the programme.

“But it is so rewarding to have provided such a fantastically designed and constructed outdoor woodland garden area for the nursery kids to explore and enjoy.

“We handed over the internal areas of the project around six weeks ago to enable the school to prepare for use and managed to complete the external works as per our agreed program post-COVID.

“We will miss the daily interactions with the school, particularly via contracts manager, Kevin Kozicki, and site manager, Scott Martin, who performed exceptionally well and established a warm rapport with the staff.”

Onthank ECC head teacher, Fiona Kellett, said: “We cannot thank Procast enough for the wonderful job they have done of transforming our centre, to extend our internal learning environment and creating our wonderful new outdoor play area, for all of our children.

“From the beginning of our journey with Procast, they have always communicated with us effectively, talking us through the stages of the refurbishment and they were always engaging, eager to listen and quick to respond to our questions.

“They were very approachable, well-mannered and respectful that we were still running an early childhood centre while they carried out their work.

“Their work areas were always clean and tidy and the project was carried out to an excellent standard.

“Procast have created indoor and outdoor areas which will highly benefit our children’s learning experiences and help support us to give children the best start in life.”

Photo shows (from left) Amy McClements, Julie Barrie (both senior early learning and child care practitioners), Linzi Stewart (equity and excellence lead), Procast director, Frank McManus, depute head Jennifer McBurnie, head teacher Fiona Kellett and site manager Scott Martin.

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