Building work starts on purpose-built Ecology Centre

Cutting the first turf, from left: Lis Dean, former chairman; Julie Samuel, general manager; and Ronnie Mackie, senior education officer.
Cutting the first turf, from left: Lis Dean, former chairman; Julie Samuel, general manager; and Ronnie Mackie, senior education officer.
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The first turf has been cut and work is about to start on the construction of Kinhorn’s new Ecology Centre.

The purpose-built premises on the east bank of Kinghorn Loch will belong to the centre, securing its long-term future in the town.

And staff say they can’t wait to have their own new home which they can develop to suit the centre’s needs over the coming years.

The Ecology Centre moved out of Craigencalt Farm, where it leased land and buildings, last November. Since then it has continued to operate from portable premises on the site of the new centre, which it has also purchased, as well as office accommodation at Carlyle House in Kirkcaldy.

Big Lottery funding of £920,000 plus additional money from the Robertson Trust means the plans drawn up to house staff and the many volunteers which help the Ecology Centre to run and develop, can now go ahead as quickly as possible.

And it is hoped that the building will be completed by mid June when everyone can move back onto the site and begin their work in earnest.

“The first excavation work is due to start on Monday and it really will be our dream come true,” said Julie Samuel, general manager at the Ecology Centre.

“From the start of planning the new centre, it has taken us ten years to reach this point, with a lot of hard work from staff and volunteers, who we couldn’t have got this far without.

“When the work starts we should see everything coming together quickly because the panels are all made off site and are then just joined together. If everything goes to schedule we should see the finished shell by the end of March.”

The work will be done by Kirkcaldy firm John Smart & Son joiners and building contractors.

Robert Paterson, operations co-ordinator, added: “We are all very excited. It is a massive challenge moving from a developed site to one that is completely bare, but it gives us a great opportunity to make it a great place for the community and visitors.”

The new centre will include a number of green features to minimise its carbon footprint.

The main building, which houses the education and office space as well as kitchen and toilet facilities, will have insulated panels to keep it at a constant temperature all year round.

It will be linked to three shipping container outbuildings by a covered walkway with photovoltaic tiles which help generate electricity for the centre. The containers will house the Tool Shed, volunteer and storage facilities. It’s self composting toilet, “the Loo with a View”, is surrounded by a wildflower meadow.