College's multi-million pound boost

A NEW era is dawning for Suffolk New College after bosses today announced a bid to create a new state-of-the-art building has received a massive cash boost.

A NEW era is dawning for Suffolk New College after bosses today announced a bid to create a new state-of-the-art building has received a massive cash boost.

The investment of £42.8million by the National Learning and Skills Council will enable the college to replace its dilapidated estate with a modern, 21st century structure.

The building will be unveiled in two years' time and follows hot on the heels of the University Campus Suffolk project, which will see its landmark building opened next September.

The college's new building, which will offer modern facilities for its further education students, will cost a total of £69 million.

The remaining £26.2m has been raised by the college through a loan, cash reserves and the sale of land and buildings.

The new facility has been designed to provide a balance of general and specialist purpose space with flexible teaching and learning resource areas.

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New ways of working using technology are also being developed and will be modelled with staff over the next 12 months.

It is predicted that the numbers of full time equivalent students will increase from 3,135 in 2006/07 to 3,500 in 2011/2012.

Buildings, including the college's main hall, have already been pulled down and the land has been levelled.

However there were delays in construction due to funding constraints, which means the original plans have had to be altered.

College principal professor Dave Muller, who has been at the college for 20 years, said: “Once the new building is there, it will be the mark.

“People will walk past and see these new buildings and know it is really happening. I'm proud of the college and that's why I have stayed for so long.”

The new structure will comprise two main buildings and a separate sports facility, which will be used by the community in the evenings and at weekends.

It will surround a three storey atrium, which will contain a food court, a learning space with computers and an exhibition space.

The building will also include a restaurant overlooking Alexandra Park and glass walled workshops facing Rope Walk-enabling passer-bys to see students working inside.

What do you think of the development? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

August 2007: Planning approval received for main build. Outline planning approval received for stand alone sports hall.

Sept 2007: Local Learning and Skills Council approval.

Oct 2007: LSC National Council approval.

Nov 2007: Final LSC approval received. Construction starts on site.

July 2009: Completion

Autumn 2009: College operation commences in new build.

Total development cost £69m.

The site is 22,000sqm (equivalent to three football pitches), made up of teaching and learning space built around an internal atrium containing a food court and exhibition area.

State-of-the-art accommodation, which can be used by the local community and business.

Training restaurant, hair and beauty salons, performance area open to the community.

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