Major improvement works start at Lowestoft College

A �1.3m building project to improve facilities at Lowestoft College for the start of the next academic year has got under way.

The work at the St Peter's Street campus will see a new look engineering centre, an improved learning resources centre and refectory and a refurbished art and design department.

As part of the major scheme �600,000 of equipment will be installed in the engineering centre at the Sir Christopher Cockerill Centre.

The work will see the mechanical engineering workshop moved to the centre, which houses other engineering courses.

The former mechanical engineering workshop, which was built in 1958, will then be demolished to make way for a quadrangle outside space for students to gather.

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As part of the �1.3m work the learning resources centre will be modernised with what the college calls a large open plan design with glazed pods for individual or group studies.

There will also be laptop drop-in bars and internet cafe areas and a raised stage area which could double up as a performance area as well as an additional study space.

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The adjoining refectory will also be refurbished to create a more relaxing environment for students and staff.

An additional satellite learning resource centre with an internet cafe and coffee lounge, will also be built.

The final major tranche of improvement work will see the further and higher education art and design departments brought together to create a more joined up approach for students.

In a bid to reduce running costs and improving efficiency new lighting and boilers are also being installed.

The new boilers and lighting should save the college nearly �100,000 a year and help reduce the campus's carbon footprint by reducing Co2 emissions by about 455 tonnes annually.

In a separate development the college is also installing a 18m wind turbine tower to train workers in the wind farm industry.

The tower, which is thanks to a partnership with the National Wind Farm Training Centre, will have a wind turbine transfer ladder and a helicopter hoist. It should be in place by the end of the summer.

College principal Simon Summers said: 'This is a very exciting time for Lowestoft College.

'This work will bring these facilities for students and teaching and learning right up to date.

'The changes are rapidly taking shape and we are looking forward to opening the new facilities at the start of next term.

'Each year we welcome 5000 students to Lowestoft College so we are pleased that we are able to continue to make improvements to the college.

'The new engineering area is particularly exciting as it will mean we will have some of the best engineering training facilities in the eastern region.

This will allow us to continue to provide the skills needed for the fast growing energy industry.'

The �1.3m work has been funded by University Campus Suffolk, the Local Strategic Partnership, the Skills Funding Agency and the college.

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