The Scottish Seabird Centre has revealed proposals for a National Marine Centre for Scotland.

The £5.5 million project, planned to open in 2020, will deliver educational programmes about marine wildlife as well as related marine research and conservation initiatives.

Simpson and Brown and Event Communications have developed the plans for the new visitor attraction which feature a range of interactive exhibitions allowing visitors to explore the hidden marine environment.  The building will include a new welcome area, retail and catering facilities and an observatory providing 360° views of the North Berwick coastline.

Grace Martin, Project Director for the National Marine Centre, said: “The Scottish Seabird Centre currently offers visitors an opportunity to engage with nature in a sustainable way. As a conservation and education charity, we welcome 4,000 school children a year and lead projects such as SOS Puffin.

“But, as with all charities, we must move with the times to remain viable and to achieve our objectives of inspiring people to care for wildlife and the natural environment. We have more education requests that we can accommodate and visitor expectations are at an all-time-high. Our vision is to create a centre that is of national significance and one that the local community is proud of.”

Professor John Baxter, Principal Advisor – Marine, at Scottish Natural Heritage and a trustee of the Seabird Centre, added, “The marine environment of Scotland supports a fantastic array of habitats and wildlife. Under the surface of the seas is a hidden and very special world that we want to reveal and bring to life, for people of all ages, in exciting and engaging ways.

“Scottish universities are at the cutting-edge of marine environment research but there are at present limited opportunities for the public to share in this work. Through public engagement we know there is a high level of interest in our seas, coasts and wildlife. This new attraction will provide an immersive and interactive experience, communicating the latest research and inspiring people to look after our natural world. It is vital that we protect and conserve our seas and their wildlife for future generations.”

Procurement for major contracts will be listed on the Public Contracts Scotland (PCS) website on http://www.publiccontractsscotland.gov.uk/