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College new build makes excellent progress

Northampton College’s ambitious new build projects at the sites in Lower Mounts and Booth Lane remain both on programme and on budget. Excellent team working between the College, its architect Pick Everard and its contractor SDC is reaping rewards as striking buildings begin to emerge on both sites.

Northampton College’s ambitious new build projects at the sites in Lower Mounts and Booth Lane remain both on programme and on budget. Excellent team working between the College, its architect Pick Everard and its contractor SDC is reaping rewards as striking buildings begin to emerge on both sites.

The substantial extension to the site at Lower Mounts in the town centre is due for completion in the summer, with the building being fully operational from September 2010. The timescale for Booth Lane (current phase) is approximately one year later, with the intention that the buildings will be functioning in time for the September 2011 intake.

The new build at Booth Lane has been planned in two phases in order to fulfil the requirements of the Learning & Skills Council (LSC) regarding timescales and guarantees about maximum price. Whilst the whole project was successful in obtaining LSC Approval in Principle (AiP), only the current phase (Phase One - comprising five buildings) gained full Approval in Detail (AiD).

As a result of the collapse of the LSC’s capital support grant programme, the College has become aware that it is unlikely to be awarded further funding for Phase Two. For most of this academic year, therefore, the College has been involved in negotiations with the LSC’s successor, the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) to allow for variation of the original plans that will enable the deployment of all available funds and achieve the result closest to the intended final scheme.

Principal Len Closs said, ‘I am delighted to report that the College has recently received approval to a plan that will enable us to continue seamlessly from Phase One into a modified Phase Two. This will provide the new campus with, at a minimum, two of three Phase Two buildings originally designed, with the possibility of further enhancements as this phase of the project progresses.

Whilst this solution will not deliver every part of our original vision for Booth Lane, it will enable us to maximise funding currently available, to ensure that the best elements of the project are realised and to secure a position which will allow the College the opportunity to be finally completed as and when circumstances allow and funds become available.’

The College is well on target to deliver these major landmark buildings for the benefit of the Town, serving its learners for many years to come.