Jul 6 2012 by Gregor White, Stirling Observer Friday
WORK towards a new Bannockburn Heritage Centre passed another milestone last week.
Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop wielded the spade as ground was broken to mark the start of construction.
So far the site has been mostly given over to archaeologists to see what they could find before building work gets started.
The existing visitor centre is set to close on October 31 and will be demolished, with temporary visitor facilities on site until the new centre opens in time for the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn in June 2014.
The grounds are also set to be redesigned to offer better views of the world-famous Bruce statue, rotunda and flagpole.
The rebuilding project is funded with £5 million from the Scottish Government and £4.1 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and is a joint project between the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Scotland.
The new centre is set to include an exhibition using 3D technology to bring visitors face-to-face with a medieval battle.
NTS chief executive Kate Mavor said: “Bannockburn is one of the most significant sites in Scotland.
“When it comes to the battle, plenty of people have heard the myths. We want the new centre to be the place where you get the facts.
“The trust takes pride in ensuring that the story of the battle is told accurately and compellingly, giving every visitor the chance to learn more about this critical point in history.”
Builders Mansell Construction Services have worked on the Palace of Holyrood House and Edinburgh Castle.
The firm’s regional director Callum Leslie said: “The Battle of Bannockburn is one of the most significant historic events to have taken place in Scotland so is it fitting that the new centre will open in time to pay tribute to the 700th anniversary.
“The new visitor centre will also showcase the celebrated architectural, engineering and construction heritage Scotland is internationally renowned for.”