Pledge on education during rebuild

STEVE DOWNES Leaders of Norwich City College have promised that all students will continue to be given a quality education during a six-year, £215m rebuild.Construction experts have devised an order of work to ensure all studies go ahead with little or no disruption.

STEVE DOWNES

Leaders of Norwich City College have promised that all students will continue to be given a quality education during a six-year, £215m rebuild.

Construction experts have devised an order of work to ensure all studies go ahead with little or no disruption.

But there will be severe car parking disruption, with the number of spaces dropping from the current 650 to zero for up to three years while work is carried out.


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Negotiations are underway with nearby businesses and schools to rent car parking space during that period. At the end of the three years, a two- storey car park for 650 vehicles will open.

College principal Dick Palmer said: “Although the student population will rise there will be no increase in vehicle traffic at the college thanks to a well-planned green travel strategy.”

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Mr Palmer said the total rebuild of the college was needed because of a number of factors, including:

the introduction of 17 diplomas for 14 to 19-year-olds, which will see many teenagers spending at least one day a week learning at college;

a huge expansion of apprenticeships and degree-level qualifications;

the growing population of the city, with more than 30,000 new homes planned;

a free right to return to learning up to A-level at any age up to 25;

the change in the compulsory education age to 18 by 2013.

The first building to be completed will be the one closest to the city centre. It will be larger than the Forum and will house public facilities including a theatre, restaurant, swimming pool, hair salon, gym and spa.

The remainder of phase one of the building project, between 2009 to 2012, will see the current sixth form centre and halls of residence demolished.

There are currently 108 rooms available for students. They will not be replaced, and college leaders are talking to other organisations about providing alternatives.

The sixth form centre and halls will be replaced by new buildings housing the school of technology, school of creative arts and school of hair, beauty and leisure industry. Also, the new car park will be built, along with an energy centre to make the best use of green technology.

Under phase two, from 2012 to 2015, a new hotel school will be built with a hotel and restaurant open to the public, together with a building housing the school of health, social care and early education and other new teaching and learning spaces.

Mr Palmer said the new campus would be “carbon neutral”, thanks to a combination of innovative design and technology and efficient use of resources.

The buildings will be designed to optimise natural light and ventilation and will use ground source heat pumps, biomass boilers and recycled waste heat from electrical generators.

A consultation period is now under way, and members of the public are invited to the college to view the proposals on Thursday from 5pm to 8pm, Friday from 10am to 5pm and Saturday from 10am to 1pm.

Local residents have been sent letters and leaflets explaining the plans.

Mr Palmer said: “We want the local community to be involved and consulted every step of the way - not just this week but through the whole process to ensure their needs are met as well as our students.”

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