Catrine's newly refurbished Early Childhood Centre held its official opening recently after an £858,000 refurbishment.

Having opened its doors to youngsters and staff in January, a special event was held including a plaque unveiling, along with kids' performances.

The ECC has had to deal with some issue outwith its control since opening, including targeted vandalism on its wonderful outdoor area shortly after opening.

READ MORE: Newly refurbished Catrine ECC targeted by vandals over the weekend

But nothing would wipe the smiles off of people's faces at the official opening ceremony.

Former head teacher Mary Bunting unveiled a plaque, designed by the council’s graphic design intern Rachel Wherry, with Gracie and Leah from the ECC, to mark the special occasion.

The children then performed three songs – ‘When I grow up’, ‘Best day of my life’ and ‘At Catrine ECC’.

Cumnock Chronicle: Former HT Mrs Bunting with Dalton and MillerFormer HT Mrs Bunting with Dalton and Miller (Image: East Ayrshire Council)

The invited guests then took a tour of the extensively refurbished facility, which provides 64 early learning and childcare places for children aged three to five years, with space to increase this number in future if required.

Along with a sensory room and laundry room, the refurbishment includes four playrooms and the creation of a mezzanine and storytelling deck.

All the windows, heating system and water services within the building were replaced and outside, the play area was completely reimagined, with new outdoor learning opportunities and direct outdoor access from two of the playrooms.

READ MORE: Catrine ECC holds open night after refurbishment work

Current head teacher Judith Govans said: “The official opening of our Early Childhood Centre was a wonderful celebration. A celebration of our history, our community and of course our children, who are at the heart of everything we do.

“I would like to thank everyone who attended the official opening and made it such a special day and of course, huge thanks go to Mrs Bunting. It was absolutely fitting that she was there to declare the Early Childhood Centre officially open.”

Special guest Mary Bunting said: “It was great privilege to officially open the refurbished Catrine Early Childhood Centre.

"It was originally built to accommodate the youngest school age children in Catrine but when Auchinleck Academy was built, along with a new primary, the two school buildings in Catrine were no longer required.

"The larger sandstone building was demolished but this building still stood. The elected member at the time was Councillor Helen Nesbit, who was a well informed and determined lady.

"She had visited Germany to view and learn more about nursery education and she said the first of the new nurseries would be coming to Catrine."

Cumnock Chronicle: HT Judith Govans with Aadya and LokkiHT Judith Govans with Aadya and Lokki (Image: East Ayrshire Council)

Mrs Bunting added: “The first head teacher was Norah Fryer, former head teacher of Hollybush Primary School, and I was delighted to follow Miss Fryer by becoming head teacher for so many happy years.

"The corridors of this precious building rang with the noise of young children playing, with very carefully thought out purposes – having fun but learning together.

“Now, as a result of this recent refurbishment, this vital, valuable educational establishment, has everything in place to provide the best experience and planned learning for our precious young children and I was delighted to declare it open for its joyful purpose.”