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Green light for the transformation of College

Official approval has been granted by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) for Northampton College to undergo a £76m transformation at its Booth Lane and Lower Mounts sites – one of the largest and most ambitious improvement ventures being undertaken by an FE college in England.

Official approval has been granted by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) for Northampton College to undergo a £76m transformation at its Booth Lane and Lower Mounts sites – one of the largest and most ambitious improvement ventures being undertaken by an FE college in England.

The College has been working with architects, Pick Everard, and project managers, Fusion, to develop and submit initial plans to the LSC for a complete re-build of its site at Booth Lane to provide 21st Century education facilities, together with a significant extension to the College’s Town Centre building on Lower Mounts.

The LSC has given an ‘Approval in Principle’ to go ahead with the project, which it will support by providing a substantial proportion of the necessary funding. The balance will be invested by the College itself by drawing on its own funds and through borrowing. The next stage will be for the College to submit a more detailed application by October 2008 to enable building work to begin at the two sites in carefully planned phases. It is anticipated that the new development will be ready for launch in 2011-2012.

Principal Len Closs said, ‘This is an immensely exciting project, bringing to the Town educational facilities of the highest quality. This will be of huge benefit to future learners, staff and the local community and we are looking forward to developing and announcing more detailed plans to the public in the near future. We are very aware of the significant growth in population projected for Northampton and the south of the county in the near future. As a result, the College will need to be able to deliver a high quality, flexible education and training service to a wider range of employers and a greater number of learners. The transformation at Booth Lane and Lower Mounts will enable us to achieve this.’

Liz Searle, Area Director for LSC Northamptonshire said, ‘The College team is to be congratulated in putting forward ambitious and high quality plans to the LSC. These proposals will provide 21st Century further education facilities in Northampton to maximise the opportunities for young people, adults and employers to develop new skills. Northampton College is the largest capital project of its type in the East Midlands. The LSC looks forward to working closely with Northampton College, and their education and planning partners, to develop the more detailed designs.’

The College’s campus in Daventry is also due for extensive improvement, with plans for a wholesale relocation from the current Badby Road site to the new Learning Quarter in the Town Centre. The College is collaborating with the two local secondary schools and Moulton College under the Daventry Learning Partnership banner and is looking to appoint architects and project managers in November this year.