D-day for new college bid

TODAY could be D-Day for the new Suffolk College as a meeting takes place to decide whether a £20million cash boost should be given for its development.

TODAY could be D-Day for the new Suffolk College as a meeting takes place to decide whether a £20million cash boost should be given for its development.

The national council of the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) is due to be in closed session at its Coventry HQ to discuss an application made by Suffolk College for the grant towards the £47m development.

Observers are optimistic the LSC will decide to provide the cash at the meeting which comes less than three weeks after a decision by the Higher Education Funding Council For England (HEFCE) to give the go ahead to build a university in the town.

The scheme proposes to pull down the existing high rise tower block in Rope Walk and replace it with a modern four storey building.


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Plans for the scheme were initially submitted to the LSC in December 2004.

Speaking at the time Suffolk College director of estates John Norman said: "The current buildings are at the end of their useful life.

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"In the long term it is cheaper to build and maintain new buildings.

"The current buildings are from the late 1950s and early 1960s. This is now the 21st century and they are becoming unsuitable."

It is hoped the new college will be built near the current Suffolk College site in the 'education quarter' of Ipswich. It will be next to the planned University Campus Suffolk (UCS) and some facilities will be shared.

PANEL - COLLEGE facts

n.Due to open 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.

n.Recent plans also reveal entrances on Rope Walk to hair and beauty training areas and a restaurant for catering students.

n.By 2013 it is expected there will be 9,000 part time students 3,000 full time students and about 100 new staff.

n.Over the last three years full time numbers of students at Suffolk College have expanded to more than 2300, with at least 8000 students taking part-time courses.

N What do you think? What will a new Suffolk College mean to you? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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