A turf-cutting ceremony has marked the start of work on Sunderland College’s new £29million flagship City Campus.
Sunderland College principal Anne Isherwood was joined today by Julie Elliott, MP for Sunderland Central, and Cllr Paul Watson, Leader of Sunderland City Council, to officially cut the turf at the city centre site.
The multi-million pound vocational campus is being built in the heart of Sunderland, on land opposite Park Lane bus station, and will accommodate up to 2,000 students and more than 120 staff once complete.
Julie Elliott MP said: “I am delighted to be involved in marking this significant milestone for Sunderland College’s new City Campus. This project will play a vital role in the ongoing regeneration of the city centre and will help to boost the local economy by welcoming thousands of students into the heart of Sunderland.
“It is essential for our young people to receive the very best education through excellent teaching provision and first-class facilities; and I am very pleased to see that Sunderland College is investing in its students and helping them to shape their future in a positive way.”
Cllr Paul Watson said: “It’s fantastic to see work starting on the new City Campus. It will be a real asset, providing a major boost for the city centre and its economy in addition to excellent learning opportunities for our young people. There is already a large amount of work underway to improve the city centre and this development will really help to invigorate that area.”
Spanning 12,500 square metres, the state-of-the-art building will house vocational courses, transferred from its Hylton Campus, including advanced engineering, manufacturing, construction trades, automotive trades, travel and tourism, and catering and hospitality.
The well-equipped campus will also feature a manufacturing and engineering facility; hair, beauty and barbering facilities; a spa; a bakery; a travel agency; restaurant and a car repair service, all of which will be accessible to the public.
Anne Isherwood said: “This is a fantastic occasion as we celebrate the start of work on our new campus, which we believe will breathe new life into Sunderland city centre. We have been working on this exciting project for many years and it is a very rewarding feeling to see these plans coming to fruition.
“The City Campus has been designed to combine industry-standard facilities and outstanding teaching for our vocational and apprenticeship students, and will equip them with the skills and practical experience they need for their future careers.
“As well as providing a wide range of professional and technical courses, the City Campus will also be home to the college’s commercial ventures and we are looking forward to welcoming members of the public to these facilities. We are confident that our flagship campus will enhance the vibrancy of the city centre and will be of benefit to Sunderland for many years to come.”
BAM Construction was appointed by Sunderland College in November to build the new flagship campus and work will begin on the site this month, with an expected completion date of Spring 2016.
Funding for the high-tech campus will come from the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), Sunderland City Council and college reserves, and land has been secured from Homes and Communities Agency who have worked with all the partners to ensure delivery of the new campus.