A traditional groundbreaking ceremony took place today (Friday 4 March) to mark the first official day of construction on Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group’s brand new Skills and Innovation Centre, located in the heart of Stafford.
Theo Clarke MP for Stafford, leaders of Staffordshire County Council, Stafford Borough Council and representatives from the Department for Education joined College Principal and Chief Executive, Karen Dobson OBE to turn the first soil and announce the official commencement of works on the site.
The £28M Skills and Innovation Centre, scheduled for completion in 2023, will take pride of place on the Earl Street/Broad Street elevation of the College’s town centre campus. The 3 storey, 8,000 square metre development has been designed to provide future learners with leading edge construction, engineering and hybrid vehicle technology workshops, along with innovatively designed social spaces, a 4-court sports hall, gym and 300-seat auditorium.
Principal and Chief Executive, Karen Dobson OBE said: “Today’s ceremony marks an exciting construction milestone and I’m delighted that work is now underway on our brand new £28M Skills and Innovation Centre. NSCG Stafford has been transformed in recent years: with investment in facilities, a significant uplift in academic results and the achievement of an Ofsted Outstanding rating. Our exciting new scheme will allow us to continue building on these successes and provide sector leading learning facilities for our entire college community. I extend my thanks to all of the key stakeholders involved in the development so far, in particular the Department for Education whose funding helps us to turn the vision in to a reality.”
In April 2021 NSCG Stafford was announced as one of 16 colleges in England to benefit from the Government’s £1.5 billion FE Capital Transformation Fund. The fund, launched by the Prime Minister in September 2020 aims to rebuild and transform college estates and create modern, fit-for-purpose spaces that meet the needs of the students and communities they serve.
Theo Clarke, MP for Stafford said: “I was delighted to be at NSCG Stafford to see ground being broken for the new Skills and Innovation Centre building in Stafford. I welcome the significant Government funding that has been awarded to provide more upskilling and learning opportunities for Stafford residents. I will continue to work with NSCG Stafford as it prepares for its next exciting development – the construction of a Hub building for Staffordshire’s new Institute of Technology.”
Leader of Stafford Borough Council, Patrick Farrington, added: “It was great to see the ground breaking work get underway on this fantastic new development which is more major investment in Stafford and brings many benefits to the county town – not only by attracting future students, who will be able to enjoy these state of the art facilities, but also for our local economy.
“This is further demonstration of the confidence investors have in our borough and our council’s vision to bring prosperity to the area by supporting and enabling projects and businesses from across the sectors, large and small, to develop and grow.”
The development is being built by Bowmer + Kirkland.