College £80m facelift revealed

AMBITIOUS £80million plans to transform a Suffolk college could be given the financial all-clear within weeks, it has been revealed.

AMBITIOUS £80million plans to transform a Suffolk college could be given the financial all-clear within weeks, it has been revealed.

As artist impressions of the new buildings at West Suffolk College are unveiled, education bosses have spoken of their excitement over the “bold and striking” project.

The college is expecting to hear within the next month whether a capital support grant of £58million from the Learning & Skills Council (LSC) is successful.

This would pave the way for the £80million building programme which would transform the Bury St Edmunds campus.

Martyn Wagner , vice principal, said: “The college is growing and changing in response to the demands of a fast-moving society and our physical surroundings need to reflect that.

“The designs for the new campus are bold and striking, including a flagship higher education building which is like nothing we have on the campus today. We are creating a high quality learning environment - one that reflects the requirements of a modern teaching methods and extended curriculum.”

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The funding will enable West Suffolk College to execute an ambitious project to rebuild the 16-acre site, including Suffolk House which has presented the college's public face since the 1960s.

The new buildings will also incorporate 'green' elements to reduce their environmental impact.

Mr Wagner added: “We are already the largest provider of work-based learning in Suffolk and an outstanding provider of education and training with a huge amount of vocational expertise.

“As University Campus Suffolk Bury St Edmunds, we are making a substantial contribution to higher education in the county, with higher education admissions expected to double over the next ten years. We are moving confidently forward to develop and extend our positive impact on the local economy.”

Contractors are expected to be on site to start the internal stripping out of Edmund House - the oldest section of the college buildings - by Christmas. The remaining funding for the work will be completed by college reserves and other stakeholders.