Suffolk college set for expansion

One of Suffolk's leading colleges is set to double its quota of higher education students in the wake of a major £42 million redevelopment.West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds is gearing up to open its new 3,500sq m arts and science building in September.

One of Suffolk's leading colleges is set to double its quota of higher education students in the wake of a major £42 million redevelopment.

West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds is gearing up to open its new 3,500sq m arts and science building in September.

The new £6 million block is part of a major redevelopment at the Western Way site which will be underway for the next three to five years and includes a new nursery and general refurbishment of the college site.

Elsewhere, the college hopes to create a building for carpentry courses in Anglia Lane in addition to its two existing sites there used for tuition.

Once the entire programme is complete, college bosses hope to have bolstered its higher education roll from 600 students to 1,200 within five years. In addition, the college has 7,800 on vocational courses and 10,000 students involved in evening classes.

David Howells, deputy principal at the college said: “In terms of our overall population, the higher education increase amounts to just three or four per cent. We have done this project piecemeal. There's an awful lot of money out there at the moment for colleges and universities and there is an opportunity to renew all of our buildings over the next three to five years.”

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“It is better to have buildings that are purpose-built than simply to give them a lick of new paint.”

He added the extra students would not mean a big increase in traffic levels in the area because a new access road to the Western Way campus was also planned and most of the higher education students did not use cars.

The college is also waiting to hear from the East of England Development Agency over it plans to create a new nursery at the Western Way site.