£24m college revamp

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THIS is how Mansfield’s West Notts College could look if a ‘once-in-a-generation’ redevelopment scheme gets the green light.

College bosses have this week unveiled the ambitious £24m project, which they say will completely transform the appearance of the dated-looking Derby Road campus.

News of the major redevelopment comes less than two years after West Notts missed out on funding from the Learning and Skills Council to build a new £96m ‘super college’.

The college says the proposals highlight its commitment to delivering ‘world class’ educational facilities on a site which would boast ‘ambitions and aspirations for the 21st Century’.

Bosses say the large-scale redevelopment, which will see the majority of teaching and learning take place on the main site, includes:

A landmark two/three-storey new-build providing around 4,000sqm of additional teaching and learning space, plus a commercial and training hair and beauty salon, health spa and restaurant

A state-of-the-art sports hall boasting badminton and basketball courts, sports science lab, refreshments and viewing area, toilets and changing facilities

Converting the three-storey block to create more teaching space

External re-cladding of the six-storey tower block and surrounding buildings to rejuvenate the visual appearance of the campus

An enclosed courtyard to provide increased social and dining space for students

Extended car parking from the Cauldwell Road entrance and larger visitors’ car park off Derby Road.

The scheme will be funded by the college and principal Asha Khemka said it marked a ‘dynamic new approach’ to breathe new life into the campus.

She said: “This £24m scheme represents a once-in-a-generation investment by the college in education and skills and will serve as a major regeneration boost for Mansfield and surrounding communities.

“It will completely transform the main campus and provide our growing student population with truly inspirational education and training opportunities.

“The rejuvenated college will act as a symbol of the area’s pride, ambitions and aspirations for the 21st Century. It’s what our communities deserve.”

The new build will accommodate hair, beauty and complementary therapies – which will relocate from the college’s town centre training and commercial salon – and the hospitality, sport, leisure and travel curriculum currently spread across several locations at Derby Road.

Improvements to the three-storey block will also enable visual arts to relocate from the Chesterfield Road site.

College chiefs say this will bring the curriculum closer to music, media and performing arts, which transfer to the college’s £5m creative arts centre when it opens its doors in September.

West Notts is expected to submit a planning application to Mansfield District Council in June and has already begun an initial consultation with residents.

If the scheme gets the go-ahead, work is planned to start on the car park and sports hall in September 2011 and on the new build in November.

The college hopes to complete this part of the scheme by December 2012, with the remainder of it finished by September 2013.

Added Mrs Khemka: “By modernising our buildings, students will enjoy the very best teaching, learning and social space which will complement the high-quality education and training already provided here on a daily basis.

“Furthermore, upgrading our buildings will reduce our running costs, freeing-up money to invest in our students’ learning experience.

“Our proposals are subject to planning approval so we’ll be consulting further with local residents and the planning authority to bring this much-needed scheme to fruition.”