New look for college sites with £9m redevelopment plan

Kirkley Hall workshop
Kirkley Hall workshop

THESE are the first images of what the multi-million redevelopment of two Northumberland College campuses will look like when the work is complete at the end of next year.

The £9m plans were announced last November when the college was awarded cash from the government’s Skills Funding Agency.

The Ashington campus will benefit from the bulk of the funding, with £6m being spent in the College Road premises, while The Kirkley Hall Campus, near Ponteland, will receive a £3m cash injection.

In Ashington, state-of-the-art construction, engineering and motor vehicle workshops will be built while refurbishment will be carried out on workshops used for brickwork, plastering and carpentry as well as painting and decorating.

An interactive learning environment will be created on the ground floor of the main building, with a hair salon, restaurant and enterprise units, while enhancements will be made to the overall site.

Kirkley Hall will benefit from new arboriculture and tractor workshops, a new-build education block with eight classrooms, an open learning suite and learning resource centre.

Two Newcastle-based companies have been appointed to oversee the work; quantity surveyors Todd Milburn Partnership, who have worked on Cramlington Learning Village and The Blyth School Community College, and project managers Summers-Inman.

The upgraded facilities are scheduled to be complete by December 2014, however, some will be ready before that date.

Only last month the college was celebrating its best ever Ofsted report.

The education watchdog inspectors noted a number of improvements across a range of subject areas.

The overall rating of ‘good’, which also comes after Ofsted introduced a tougher inspection regime in September, firmly places the college amongst the best performing in the region.

The report stated “... teaching, learning and assessment have improved markedly across the college”, and “... levels of support for students are excellent, which is a key factor in motivating them to succeed”.

It added: “Teachers have high expectations of their students and students benefit from highly skilled and experienced teachers with credible industry knowledge.”

The inspectors were particularly impressed with progress in a range of areas, from health and social care to animal care and environmental conservation.