Civic leaders back new college for town
IPSWICH civic leaders today gave their backing to build a new Suffolk College in the town. The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) have agreed an £18million grant towards a £47m project to build the new college and demolish the current 40-year-old high rise block.
IPSWICH civic leaders today gave their backing to build a new Suffolk College in the town.
The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) have agreed an £18million grant towards a £47m project to build the new college and demolish the current 40-year-old high rise block.
The college will be built near the current Suffolk College site in the planned 'education quarter' of Ipswich next to the University Campus Suffolk (UCS) development.
The news comes just two weeks after a decision by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to grant £15m to kick-start a project to bring a university to the county.
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Lead by the Universities of Essex and East Anglia the UCS project and the new college will be one of the biggest higher education schemes in the country.
James Hehir, chief executive of Ipswich Borough Council, said: "This is the icing on the cake. Without a new college the UCS project would not work. This scheme will transform Ipswich and it is very exciting.
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"It would be inconceivable to have the University Campus Suffolk (UCS) project without the new college. The schemes are so closely linked."
A member of the college's governing body Mr Hehir said a replacement building is needed to secure the future of further education in Ipswich.
He added: "The civic centre was built more than 40 years ago. It is in urgent need of repair and we are knocking it down. Rather the same thing applies to Suffolk College.
"Rather than spend money on maintenance and repair which will get more and more expensive, we need new technology."
The UCS and Suffolk College projects are estimated to be worth £50m a year to the local economy.
Mr Hehir said: "Suffolk College is an essential part of Suffolk economic life. Everything from bricklayers to hairdressers are trained there, everybody in the area has some link with the college or knows someone who has studied there.
"The combined campuses will encourage more people to study here in Ipswich."
The rest of the cash needed for the £47m scheme is expected to come from land sales, borrowing and the East of England Development Agency.
Work is due to start on the development next year with an opening date likely in spring 2008. The new college will have a maximum of four storeys and although plans are not finalised it is hoped the building will include an internal street covered by a glass ceiling.
An exhibition gallery, library, workshops and an information centre are also expected to be included in the new building.
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