Structural work at South Staffordshire College’s new AgriSTEM Academy is picking up pace with contractor G F Tomlinson having now started work on the restoration of the historic Granary building. The building, which will be the focal point of the £5.3m Academy, will be renovated to provide over 1,000m of state-of-the-art learning space that, along with over 1,000m of additional new workshop space, will transform the scale and quality of industry relevant training in the Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) and Agricultural Engineering and Technology (AgriTech) sectors.
To celebrate this milestone, David Frost CBE, chairman of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, which is funding more than two-thirds of the project via its Growth Deal Fund, met college staff and the team from G F Tomlinson for a tour of the site.
David Frost commented: “It is great to see this development taking shape. The agricultural technology sector will be a key part of growing the economy of Staffordshire and we are very pleased to be investing in AgriSTEM to develop the skills our young people will need for the future.”
Director and General Manager of G F Tomlinson Andy Hughes said: “The AgriSTEM Academy, once complete, will allow South Staffordshire College to offer cutting-edge learning facilities for agriculture students.
“We were delighted to outline the details of this major building refurbishment to key representatives, including David Frost.
“Our team is now on site creating new teaching spaces that will enhance and develop learning facilities at the college so students can study a range of subjects in a realistic manufacturing setting.”
Scheduled for completion this Autumn, the Academy will provide additional learning opportunities for up to 1,000 additional learners and will see the introduction of new courses in subjects including Agricultural Engineering, Land-based Technology and many more. New state-of-the-art facilities will include an advanced mechatronics lab, agricultural and construction vehicle simulators and renewable energies workshops, multi-occupation construction areas and a host of digitally enabled learning, independent study and collaboration spaces.
South Staffordshire College is also keen to preserve some of the original features of the historic Granary building and Architects Maber are creating designs that seamlessly blend the old and the new. As well as sympathetic refurbishment work, staff at the College are also busy restoring hidden gems such as a granary cart that promises to have a new lease of life when the AgriSTEM Academy is completed.
Graham Morley, Chief Executive Principal of South Staffordshire College said: “We’re delighted with how work is progressing on site at the AgriSTEM Academy and are really looking forward to seeing the ongoing transformation over the coming months. The finished result is not only going to look incredible, but will also give aspiring engineers, rural entrepreneurs and businesses across the region access to practical training that is unavailable anywhere else in Staffordshire. On behalf of all of us here at South Staffordshire College, I’d like to thank both the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and G F Tomlinson for their continued support in making the AgriSTEM Academy a reality.”
South Staffordshire College has previously developed a number of state-of-the-art training facilities including the £6m Cannock Campus, also built by G F Tomlinson, which was awarded ‘Highly Commended’ in the Best Educational Building category of the LABC Awards.
Students interested in being among of the first to benefit from the fantastic facilities at the AgriSTEM Academy can sign up online in just 25 seconds at www.southstaffs.ac.uk
To follow the progress of the new AgriSTEM Academy visit: www.southstaffs.ac.uk/about-us/agristem/
or for more information call 0300 456 2424.