£1.45m visitor centre for Falkirk’s Kelpies
Construction of a £1.45m visitor centre at Falkirk’s Helix Park is to get under this month.
The facility will be situated adjacent to The Kelpies – the world’s largest equine sculptures.
Work on the new visitor centre will see a restaurant, retail area and toilets delivered on site, while a visitor information point and audio visual experience will also be created.
The development is expected to open later this summer, and will be operated by Falkirk Community Trust, on behalf of project partners Falkirk Council and Scottish Canals. The project is being funded by SCORE Environment, as well as money from the Scottish Government, Big Lottery Fund, Falkirk Council and Scottish Canals.
Due to funding and programming difficulties, work was delayed on the project, but Falkirk Council has since awarded the contract to a new company, Maxi Construction, following a competitive tender process.
It is now anticipated that work on the visitor centre will begin next week (12 January).
Councillor Adrian Mahoney, Falkirk Council’s spokesperson for culture, leisure and tourism, said: “It’s taken some time, but I’m pleased that plans for the new visitor centre at the Helix Park seem to be back on track. We had hoped to open the centre in the autumn of 2014, but that wasn’t possible – and we had to go back out to tender, delaying the process by many months.
“I’m glad that a new firm, Maxi Construction, is now ready to start work on site and I look forward to the centre opening to visitors later in 2015. It will provide welcome new facilities to the Helix Park to deal with the huge numbers of people visiting the site and seeing the awesome Kelpies.”
The visitor centre building was designed by Dundee architects Nicoll Russell Studios following an international design competition.
It is designed to merge into the surrounding landscape using grass mounds and landscaped roof panes, providing visitors with an uninterrupted view of The Kelpies.
Councillor Mahoney added: “The initial plans were for a much more modest building. Thanks to the generous support of funders such as Score Environment, we were able to commission a much larger centre, boasting a restaurant with superb views of the Kelpies, and better visitor facilities. I’m sure the centre will be well worth a visit when it opens in 2015.”