Work to start on new £2.5m state-of-the-art college unit

From left: Northumberland College student Ben Wilkinson, Principal and CEO, Marcus Clinton, Chairman of Governors Jacqui Henderson CBE, North East LEP Board Member David Land and student Lewis Mortimer marking the first dig in the ground on the �2.5million STEM Centre site.
From left: Northumberland College student Ben Wilkinson, Principal and CEO, Marcus Clinton, Chairman of Governors Jacqui Henderson CBE, North East LEP Board Member David Land and student Lewis Mortimer marking the first dig in the ground on the �2.5million STEM Centre site.

Northumberland College has officially broken ground for works to commence on the £2.5million state-of-the-art STEM Centre at its Ashington campus, scheduled to be completed by summer 2017.

The new centre will be home to specialist science and technology workshops with dedicated facilities.

It will include a class 10,000 clean room, Digital 3D imagery equipment, nanotechnology, microscopes, specialist chemicals and fab labs where budding product designers and entrepreneurs can access the latest in digital fabrication equipment for prototyping.

Proposed timescales include the building’s foundations being laid before Christmas with building competition set for the end of July, ready for occupation by mid-August in time for the new cohort of students starting in September.

The new science and technology centre will also provide a base for maths and digital courses at the college.

The college’s Principal and Chief Executive, Marcus Clinton, said: “This is a very exciting time for the college. The development of this building is very good news for us and for Northumberland, following on from an exceptionally successful year of achievements and outcomes for students.

“There are skills shortages within science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) so we will be adding new courses that are designed with feedback from employers and cover fabrication, processing, IT and digital, robotics and hydraulics, this training will benefit our students and the local economy.”

Two North East-based firms – Summers-Inman and ESH Build – have been appointed by the college to complete the re-development.

The project received £2.3million funding from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (North East LEP’s) Local Growth Fund.

This latest investment follows £10million that has been injected across all campuses to see a new hair and beauty salon, restaurant and kitchen, engineering and construction academies and new student hub at Ashington. Plus, new workshops for agriculture and arboriculture, learning resource centre and classroom block at Kirkley Hall.

To details about college courses, visit the website northumberland.ac.uk.