ONE of Sunderland’s newest and most-loved sporting sons has cut the ribbon to officially open Sunderland College’s new state of the art campus.
Rio Paralympics golden boy, Matt Wylie, cut the golden ribbon in a ceremony at the £30m City Campus on Monday, December 12.
The former Sunderland College student was the overwhelming favourite among Sunderland College students to perform the opening duties at the new facility – having opened its doors to 2,000 students in September.
The Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Alan Emerson, joined Matt at the opening, along with principal and chief executive Ellen Thinnesen, and chair of the college’s Board of Governors, Rob Lawson.
Matt, who won gold in the “splash and dash” S9 50 metres freestyle event in the Rio pool and is also IPC European champion said it was a huge honour to be asked to officially open City Campus.
He said: “When I’ve attended events at the new city campus I’ve been blown away by the facilities here. This is a fantastic site and it’s great to see the college – which played a big part in my younger years – thriving.
“While it’s very surreal to open the new campus, it’s quite surreal to think that I was studying with Sunderland College not that long ago, and really, I still feel like a student! It was a great honour to be nominated by the students to cut the ribbon, and I hope my successes inspire more students to follow their dreams by working hard.”
City Campus, created at the heart of the city centre in Park Lane, took 22 months of construction work to build and fully fit-out with industry-standard equipment, creating a modern 140,000 square-foot facility for Sunderland College’s student body.
The Mayor, Cllr Alan Emerson, added: “It was a privilege and honour to be asked along to cut the ribbon with Matt – one of the many young people from Sunderland that are achieving brilliant things.
“The college is making a fantastic difference to the area with its new campus, and I’m sure will go on to encourage and inspire more of its students with this fantastic facility.”
The campus, in the Park Lane area of the city centre, is home to advanced manufacturing, engineering and construction facilities; a spa for beauty students; an 80-seater restaurant for those completing a catering and hospitality qualification and a flight cabin, for budding travel and tourism professionals.
Ellen Thinnesen, principal and chief executive at Sunderland College, said: “Matt’s achievements united a city and the whole of Sunderland celebrated his incredible victory at the summer’s Paralympics.
“He was the unanimous choice of both the staff and student body at Sunderland College and we were delighted he agreed to perform the ribbon cutting alongside the Mayor of Sunderland.
“The official opening is a proud moment in the college’s history. It is among the most impressive college buildings I have set foot in during my career in education – and I have been to a lot of colleges.”
The campus boasts a suite of new engineering spaces and a stunning restaurant staffed by hospitality and catering students.
“We’re plugged in to the region – geographically and in terms of the economic needs of the area.
“City Campus is set to change the way young people learn. It is very much focused on professional and technical skills, so it absolutely feels like a real-life working environment where our young people can get the experience they will need to succeed in their chosen careers.” Ellen added.