SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed news of a £35 million investment in the Scottish Rural College’s (SRUC) Barony Campus, near Dumfries.
The investment is part of plans to create a Scottish rural university by 2022.
In 2016, the Barony campus was facing closure after its merger with the SRUC. Plans were in place to move the campus to Crichton. Ms. McAlpine was one of the leaders of a campaign to save Barony campus from the move.
The MSP worked with Denise Carrick, who started an online petition “Save the Barony”, and Brian McMorran, former Engineering Programme Leader at SRUC Barony Campus. Ms McAlpine chaired their “Save the Barony Campus” public meeting in Locharbriggs, which drew widespread support in 2016.
Ms. McAlpine also spoke out in parliament against the SRUC management at the time. She won the support of ministers who called the college bosses in for a meeting.
Ms. McAlpine commented:
“I am particularly delighted with the new investment as I campaigned against the threatened Barony campus closure in 2016. I was concerned about a lack of detail in the SRUC proposal at the time. Many key stakeholders shared this concern.
“We felt that same educational standards could not be met if the Barony was lost. The proposal lacked full details of comparative costings and how educational provision would be affected.
“There was and remains a strong case to be made for ‘The Barony experience’. That is to say, practical, campus based education in a rural setting. The best way to teach about the land is on the land itself.
“This new £35 million investment represents an unequivocal success for our campaign. It ensures the future of the campus and I greatly look forward to seeing development at Barony going forward.”