Kelpies visitor centre project delayed amid expansion plans
A new visitor centre to be built next to the Kelpies attraction in Falkirk has been delayed after councillors agreed to expand the project.
Falkirk Council’s executive committee yesterday agreed to add £160,000 from an existing budget to increase the area available for retail space, storage and staff facilities at the centre, now under construction.
The new spend is expected to take the overall cost of the building, including fit-out, to around £1.8 million.
Last month SCN reported that the building – featuring a café, shop, toilets and exhibition area - was due to open later this summer, though it is now scheduled open to the public in October.
A report by director of development services Rhona Geisler found that visitor numbers at the Kelpies have been double the original expectation.
The sculptures opened to the public in April last year, and by the end of September 680,000 people had already visited them. It is estimated the figure for their first full year could exceed 950,000.
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.
Work was initially delayed on the project due to funding and programming difficulties which led the council to awarded the contract to a new company, Maxi Construction, following a competitive tender process.
Funding has been secured from SCORE Environment, which distributes money raised from landfill tax, alongside the Scottish Government, the Big Lottery Fund, Falkirk Council and Scottish Canals.
Councillor Adrian Mahoney, Falkirk council’s spokesman for culture, leisure and tourism, said: “I’m looking forward to seeing the new building being completed.
“Work is progressing well on site and hopefully we will be operational later this year.
“The centre 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.”
Temporary visitor facilities are available on-site until the centre is ready to open.