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Demolition of college building due to start

PUBLISHED: 06:00 14 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:55 14 July 2019

The Southwell Building at City College Norwich  Picture: City College Norwich

The Southwell Building at City College Norwich Picture: City College Norwich

Archant

A former student residence is being knocked down to make way for a £9m digital skills centre.

View of the North side of the new Digi-Tech Factory   Picture: Coffey ArchitectsView of the North side of the new Digi-Tech Factory Picture: Coffey Architects

Contractors move in tomorrow to begin demolishing the Southwell Building, at City College Norwich.

Plans for the Digi-Tech Factory on its site were unveiled in March, after the college was awarded £6.1m by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) towards the project.

The Digi-Tech Factory will bring together all the college's digital skills provision into a single, purpose built-space with industry-standard facilities.

The college says the new facility, on its Ipswich Road campus, will enable it to significantly increase the number of students and apprentices on digital skills courses.

View of the North side of the new Digi-Tech Factory Picture: Coffey ArchitectsView of the North side of the new Digi-Tech Factory Picture: Coffey Architects

A planning application has been submitted to Norwich City Council.

If approved, the Digi-Tech Factory will open during the 2020-21 academic year - the same year that City College Norwich will become one of the first colleges in the country to offer the new Digital Skills T-Level.

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The qualification, which is equivalent to three A' levels, has been designed to meet the needs of employers and includes a substantial work experience element. T-Level students will spend around 20pc of their time on an industry placement.

View of the South side of the new Digi-Tech Factory   Picture: Coffey ArchitectsView of the South side of the new Digi-Tech Factory Picture: Coffey Architects

From September 2020, City College Norwich will also be offering T-Levels in construction and in education and childcare.

Opened in 1972, Southwell Lodge originally served as a hall of residence for 270 students.

It was used by students of Norwich School of Art, as well as those attending City College.

In recent years the building has instead provided office space for teaching and support staff.

View of the reception area to the Digi Tech Factory  Picture: Coffey ArchitectsView of the reception area to the Digi Tech Factory Picture: Coffey Architects

Among its more unusual uses, the Southwell Building has been home to a recording studio for a student-run media production company, and in 2015 it was taken over by zombies when students filmed a Halloween dance there.

Corrienne Peasgood, principal at City College Norwich, said: "It's been more than a decade since the Southwell Building was used for its original purpose as student accommodation. As a college we need facilities that are modern, fit for purpose, and set up for teaching the skills needed in today's digital world and into the future."

Do you have any memories of staying at Southwell Lodge? Email ruth.lawes@archant.co.uk

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