Designed by local architect Tom McCardel and built by L&A Mackay of Lochgilphead, Craignish Village Hall was opened in November 2005, following several years of fundraising and one year of construction.
From the outset the community wanted a building that was as environmentally friendly as possible, so insulation well over and above the amount legally required, has been added, the underfloor heating is powered by a ground source heat pump and waste water goes through a Klargester treatment system rather than a conventional septic tank, thus minimising the effect on Loch Craignish. Inside the building, low energy light bulbs and environmentally friendly cleaning products are used wherever possible and users are encouraged to recycle all paper, cans and bottles.
Hall 1 can accommodate 160 people and is ideal for large events such as ceilidhs and parties, plus musical and dramatic performances and indoor sporting activities. A hatch leads through to a lockable bar and there is direct access to the commercial standard kitchen. Hall 2 is used for meetings and for quiet activities with small numbers such as Yoga or Tai Chi. Hall 3 is occupied by Craignish primary school’s pre five unit.
The original Craignish Village Hall was built in the early 1950s on land gifted to the community by the then Laird, John Lindsay-MacDougall of Lunga.
After over 50 years this ‘temporary building’ as it was classed, was too small for a growing community, had a ‘condemned’ kitchen and was requiring to have more and more spent on it, so the community took the decision to demolish the hall and to build a new one on the same site.
Fundraising for the project started in 1997, but it was not until 2002 that efforts began in earnest to raise the required £471,000. By the beginning of 2004 and thanks to major grants from The Community Fund (now The Big Lottery) and the ERDF, the full amount had been achieved and the project went out to tender. Unfortunately, between the project being costed and the tenders coming in, costs had risen considerably and it was apparent that more money would need to be raised.
In order that the project could go ahead, the specification was pared back until the tenders matched the available funds and the architect was instructed to start the construction drawings. Meanwhile fundraising continued throughout the whole of the building period in order to re-instate those items which had had to be removed or reduced.
In the early autumn of 2004, a community work party, assisted by the builders and the architect, demolished the old building and in October of that year Rosemary Dalgleish, whose mother was very involved in the building of the original hall, turned the first sod to signify the start of the construction work.
The building was completed by the end of October 2005 and in early November the official opening was performed by all the pupils of the local Primary School. By this time enough funds had been raised to build and fit out the building to the original specification, the final cost being £600,000.