Argyll College UHI is to take over the council’s Kirkmichael Centre, consolidating its presence in Helensburgh and establishing its first stand-alone base in the town.
The education provider, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands and a key Community Planning Partner, has been looking to increase the provision of educational opportunities in the area and the council’s community facility fits the bill.
Argyll College UHI’s investment in the Kirkmichael Centre is expected to begin in September this year. This will supplement the College’s existing provision of full-time Dance and Drama courses which are currently delivered in Helensburgh in conjunction with the renowned Tower Digital Arts Centre.
The building will be utilised for an initial period of two years with arrangements being in place to allow existing community groups to continue to use the centre. Following the trial there will be an opportunity to continue the occupation or purchase the building.
Councillor Aileen Morton, Leader of Argyll and Bute Council, said:
“We are really pleased that Argyll College UHI will be using the Kirkmichael Centre to expand its presence in Argyll and Bute. It’s great news that the building will be used for an educational purpose which will not only benefit local students but the community as a whole.”
Fraser Durie, Principal of Argyll College UHI, added: ‘’We are delighted to be able to significantly expand the presence of the University of the Highlands and Islands in one of Argyll and Bute’s largest conurbations.
“The College is seeking to secure funding for the first two years of operation to allow us to work with local businesses and communities to ensure we offer a curriculum tailored to meet local needs. Residents will soon have access to a range of certified Further and Higher education courses in areas such as Business, Administration, Social Sciences, Childcare, Sport and Fitness and Engineering. We expect the curriculum offered to expand and evolve as the centre develops and we assess local demand.”
The number of council staff at the centre has gradually been reduced as they move to the Helensburgh and Lomond Civic Centre.