Stafford College is putting the finishing touches to its new Science and Technology Centre and preparing to welcome hundreds of new students in September.
The centre, part-funded by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, is one of a range of new developments at the college, which is now part of Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group (NSCG) following its merger with Newcastle College last November.
The £3.5million renovation of the college’s old Broadeye Building began in January, following a successful bid to the LEP, which provided £2million of funding to support the project, with NSCG contributing the remaining £1.5million.
LEP chairman David Frost CBE commented: “We are delighted to support this impressive new centre. These showpiece facilities will equip our young people with the science and technology skills that are vital for a growing economy.
“Encouraging young people to develop their skills to the full and creating more and better jobs are both key to ensuring that Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire has a thriving future as a great place to live, work and invest.”
Spanning four floors, the Science and Technology Centre is a modern, purpose-built facility designed to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, innovators and creative thinkers. It contains state-of-the art features including impressive biology, chemistry, physics and engineering laboratories, IT suites and a Lego education innovation studio, plus seminar rooms, board room and meeting rooms.
Specialist equipment includes 3D and laser printers and a variety of robotics technology. The reception area is home to NSCG’s Apprenticeship Hub and employer vacancy board, open to the public as well as to college students.
In addition to the Science and Technology Centre a significant programme of works has been undertaken across the wider campus. The Riverbank building has a new reception area and has seen major investment in technology, including a new open access Apple Mac suite.
The college is also relaunching Sixth Form programmes, meaning that students can now choose a full A level programme, a combined A level and vocational career pathway or a full vocational course.
College principal and chief executive Karen Dobson, who is pictured with David Frost at the new centre, said: “It has been a busy summer as we have been working really hard to give our entire campus a complete overhaul in readiness for students joining us in September. Significant works have been undertaken across the entire campus and students joining us will see some huge improvements.
“We’re especially excited to welcome students who will be studying in our prestigious new Science and Technology Centre. It’s one of the best facilities of its type in the region, demonstrating out commitment to giving students the best learning experience possible.
“We recognise the need to develop a well-trained workforce in the areas of science, technology, engineering and maths and this new facility will enhance our efforts to recruit students into STEM disciplines and better prepare then with the latest technology and equipment to enter these fields when they leave the college.”
Architects Ellis Williams managed the internal redesign of the project and GF Tomlinson project-managed all construction work.