Paston College at North Walsham opens new student services centre

Paston Sixth Form College student services opening. Former principal Peter Mayne, student president

Paston Sixth Form College student services opening. Former principal Peter Mayne, student president Gemma Beasy, former principal Mollie Whitworth, student vice-president Paige Millman, and principal Kevin Grieve. Picture: RICHARD BATSON - Credit: Archant

The opening of a new student services centre at a sixth form college is signalling a wave of major investment in the historic seat of learning.

Paston College's new £750,000 facility at North Walsham was unveiled in buildings that have been stables, classrooms, cloakrooms and council offices over the years.

Principal Kevin Grieve said the centre on the Lawns site would be a social and study area for students.

And it showed it was possible to blend the old and new on the college campus, which is split between the Lawns (the former girls high school) and the Griffins site.

The centre comes amid other developments on the campus as it upgrades and expands to deal with an expected 900-plus students next year.

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Workmen are currently transforming the science block in a £1.5m scheme.

And the former student area is undergoing a £100,000 makeover into a study centre.

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The developments come as the college seeks to improve its facilities, having been thwarted in earlier plans to relocate to an out of town site when a government funding pot dried up.

Mr Grieve said the new student services centre had seen former county children's services offices transformed into a modern and functional student space.

Project design was led by Stephen Baker, from Stead Mutton Griggs, who was a Paston old boy, he added.

Another Paston old boy, the former principal Peter Mayne returned to open the building and unveil a plaque. He said it was an honour to return to the historic college's student centre, which was appropriate as students were at the centre of everything it did.

Mr Mayne, who led the college from 1996 to 2012, praised students for getting more aspirational and aiming higher. Also present was his predecessor Mollie Whitworth.

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