A STATE-OF-THE-ART nursery has been opened inside the new main stand at Tynecastle as part of innovative partnership between Heart of Midlothian Football Club and the local council.
The old Tynecastle Garden nursery building was demolished as part of works to build the 7,000-capacity terrace in 2017, with the promise that the project would include space for the replacement school.
The former nursery had operated in nearby McLeod Street since 1929 and had been listed for replacement under City of Edinburgh Council proposals.
Staff and pupils were relocated to a nearby site for 18 months while the work was completed, but Tynecastle Nursery Head Teacher Stella Brown said the move “felt like coming home again”.
She added:“We now have a learning environment for the future and one that will serve the communities of Gorgie and Dalry for generations to come.
“We’ve been neighbours of Hearts for nearly 90 years and to be fully integrated into their building is testament to the close partnership between the football club and the Council and the strength of the local community.”
The nursery includes a large outdoor play area, with flexible learning spaces and play zones for youngsters.
Furnishings partly built from much-loved trees in the previous garden have also been installed with design and build help from the Grassmarket Project.
Cllr Alison Dickie, vice convener of education, said: “The new Tynecastle Nursery is the latest fantastic building we’ve opened in recent years as we transform the early years learning path for our youngest children.”
“The light, open design of our nurseries gives them the opportunity to express themselves and can only help stimulate them in such a fantastic learning environment.” She added: “All these amazing design elements will help children on their journey to becoming successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.”
The new main stand was initially scheduled to welcome supporters in September 2017, but a series of delays pushed the opening back to November, forcing the Jambos’ to play four “home” matches at Murrayfield. It eventually opened in time for Hearts’ Scottish Premiership clash with Partick Thistle on November 19.
Hearts chief executive Ann Budge added: “Tynecastle nursery has been based in McLeod Street since 1929 and has played a big part in the local community. The creation of the new nursery is a great example of what can be achieved by taking a genuine partnership approach.”
She added: “The Council has a brand-new nursery which has been described as ‘the best nursery in Edinburgh’. In return, we were able to integrate the old nursery site into the development plans for our new stand.
“This has been a real ‘win-win’ project that has greatly benefited the local area.”