WEST NOTTS College has long been the main provider of further education in Mansfield and Ashfield, but it has now added a string to its bow in the shape of an all-new £5m creative arts centre.
The centre, which can cater for up to 200 students, opened its doors last week after seven months in the making.
It was created by remodelling existing office and classroom space in a single-storey workshop area of the college, opposite the cemetery on Derby Road.
The multi-million pound centre boasts a workshop and rehearsal space, television, radio and digital recording studios, multi-media, animation and video editing suites, a commercial software training centre, performing arts and dance studios and a 150-seat performance theatre.
Steve McAlone, head of creative industries and digital technologies, said the centre was a great opportunity to develop the college’s provision within the music, media and performing arts creative industries.
He said: “For students in the area it is a fantastic new facility where they can develop their skills and talents.
“It has been built for the purpose it was intended and the students who have used it have been incredibly positive. It just has a good feel.”
West Notts hopes the centre will become a focal point for local musicians and touring companies, who will be encouraged to make use of its recording studios, rehearsal space and performance theatre.
The scheme was funded by the college, boosted by a £225,000 grant from the Skills Funding Agency.
Alex Brooks (19), who is studying creative media production level three, said: “It is a big improvement on what we had last year. It is all brand new and we have a lot more software to use on the computers.
“There is more space and it is a more relaxed atmosphere.”
Chris Day (17), also studying creative media, said: “The atmosphere is better. There was a dull tone before but the new building is vibrant and bright.
“The walls are painted contemporarily.”
Principal Asha Khemka said the building was stunning and provided students with some of the best facilities in the country.
She added: “As well as inspiring learners to achieve their potential, it promises to further boost our growing reputation in the creative industries and be a resource that our communities can be proud of.”