Old School Thornhill (OST) Opens Its Doors

After several years of community engagement, fund-raising, design and quality building restoration by Lockerbie based contractors Broatch Construction Old School Thornhill (OST) is ready to open its doors to its local community and the wider public.


On Saturday April 20th, the Thornhill community, OST members, and all interested visitors are invited to come to the official opening of the building. The event, running from 1 to 4 pm, will start with the building being officially opened by Mrs Lavinia Mess, a long-time resident of Thornhill and former teacher at Wallace Hall Academy.


Moniave based Architect of the project John Murray said: The enthusiasm from the community and the client group has driven the project forward and it is a delight to see the result of the combined efforts of the client, design and construction teams to revitalise this much loved former school.


Director of Broatch Aaron Bell said: We were honoured to be awarded this prestigious project and it has been a pleasure working with OST to construct their vision. The harmonious spirit with OST, their design team and ourselves has led to a high quality build.


The renovation has been funded by among others the Holywood Trust, South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), Dumfries and Galloway Council, The Scottish Government through its Regneration Capital Grant Fund, Foundation Scotland and Thornhill Community Council.


Professor Russel Griggs, Chair at South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) who have supported Old School Thornhill with funding said: SOSE is delighted to have worked alongside the Old School Thornhill team and supported their ambitious plans to turn a derelict former primary school into a creative community enterprise hub. The hub will create local jobs and provide opportunities for business start-up, growth and collaboration in the local creative sector, as well as remote working facilities and a venue for life-long learning. The project’s contribution to the local economy was also boosted by use of a local firm for the construction contract.


Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Economy and Resources Committee, Councillor Ian Carruthers said: It’s great to see this important building being brought back into community use. Bringing back derelict buildings is important for the regeneration of any town, and I am sure the local people will make good use of such an important asset.


Vice Chair of E&R, Councillor David Inglis went on to say: Well done to the local community for such a fantastic achievement. It’s only through their dedication and hard work that they have realised this goal and I hope they enjoy the fruits of their labour for many years to come.


Those attending will have a chance to have a guided tour of the building and grounds. The OST team will be on hand to answer questions and to share information about the possible uses of the restored space including a creative space for young people, community meeting rooms, a space for health and wellbeing classes, hot-desking spaces, a kitchen and community garden and a theatre, music venue and cinema. Some of the studio tenants will also be available to show how they are using their space to further their successful businesses and creative practice.


Pat Kirby, Chair of the OST board of trustees said: It’s so exciting to be opening our doors on April 20th. The building looks fantastic and now it can start to be a real community resource.


The OST team has been delighted to see the realisation of the vision for the Old School into a beautiful community resource. They hope to gain input from visitors on the day to help to shape the future of OST, making sure its community led vision is fulfilled. None of this would have been possible without the support of the local community. Now it is time to welcoming everyone into the building and listen to their ideas about how OST can work for them.