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By Christie Breen
Dumfries and West
Hub work kicks off

WORK has begun at the Old School in Thornhill (OST) to turn the building into a community hub.

The building was the Wallace Hall Primary School from 1904 to 2010, before it was closed to make way for the new Wallace Hall Academy, Primary and ELC.

The initial idea for the redevelopment of the closed school came from a group of parents in 2016, to find a pragmatic way to transform the derelict building into an innovative, design-led, community space that would foster creative collaboration and benefit local communities.

OST have worked closely with Moniaive based architect John Murray, and at the end of 2022 Lockerbie based Broatch construction were appointed as the main contractors.

The refurbishment of the site will see the main hall transformed into a communal workspace for freelancers during the day and in the evenings it will become a venue for theatre and music performances, and cinema screenings. There will be a community kitchen, a space for lifelong learning, a room for exercise, a meeting space and a room dedicated to and managed by pupils from the nearby Wallace Hall Academy.

Funding and valuable expertise have been received from the South of Scotland Enterprise, Dumfries and Galloway Council and the Holywood Trust who all the agree that the project will have a transformative effect on Thornhill.

Cllr Katie Hagmann said: “It’s great to see work starting on what is a really exciting project and a great example of a local development and targeted council funding which will bring people together and provide a hub for the local rural community.”

Karen Ward Boyd from The Holywood Trust added: “The project has demonstrated a high level of ambition from the start and will provide the local communities with a high quality venue that will respond to local needs.”

If the project continues to run on schedule, the OST is expected to open in early 2024.

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