HELENSBURGH and Lomond Civic Centre was officially opened on Tuesday March 1 by the town's British no.1 wheelchair tennis champion, Gordon Reid.
The East Clyde Street complex combines the old Clyde Street School, later the Clyde Community Education Centre, and new-build offices for some 140 Argyll ad Bute Council staff.
Guests were welcomed to the ceremony in the Marriage Room in the former school by Argyll and Bute Provost Len Scoullar, who was wearing the Helensburgh Provost chain of office for the occasion.
He introduced Scottish Government Minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment Marco Biagi MSP— who has many family links with the burgh — and he welcomed the success of the ambitious project.
He said: “The centre is an example and lesson for others in dealing constructively with older buildings, and in putting people at the heart of developments. It brings a number of council services together in one place. It looks stunning. It’s a gem.”
Gordon, who won his first Grand Slam singles title in Australia earlier this year, recalled that his earliest tennis was the short form of the game in classes run in the school by the late Will and Margaret Steuart Corry of Helensburgh Lawn Tennis Club.
He formally declared the Civic Centre open, and was presented with a quaich by the council's deputy leader, Councillor Ellen Morton.
Gordon said: “I am very pleased to have been asked to do this. I know what a great place Helensburgh is, and would like to say thanks for all the local support I get.
“I hope that young people growing up here just now might use the fact that I’ve been able to achieve what I wanted to do, to determine to get the success they want for their lives.”
Helensburgh and Lomond area committee chairman Councillor Gary Mulvaney said: “This project has been all about providing the public with easy access to the council services they need. It is a major, multi million pound investment by the council in Helensburgh.
"Its official opening today marks another key milestone in our commitment to support our communities through regeneration.”
Councillor Morton — who like Councillor Mulvaney originally voted to demolish the old school — also paid tribute to Helensburgh Heritage Trust and the Anderson and Templeton Trusts for their assistance with the heritage aspects of the project.
The Heritage Trust has filled nine display cases in the main hall area of the old school, and the Anderson (Local Collection) Trust is loaning four works of art for the Marriage Room.
- Photos by Donald Fullarton.