A new £6.5 million university centre in the heart of Lynn will help to make the town a “go-to destination” for companies and students, business leaders have claimed.
Building work on the complex at the College of West Anglia campus in Tennyson Avenue will be formally launched today.
Officials say the new building, which they hope to open next September, will cater for up t0 500 students from across the West Norfolk and Fenland districts.
Both areas have been seen as “cold spots” where the proportion of young people that progress into higher education is below the national average.
The new building is intended to deliver higher education programmes in areas such as science, engineering and business.
And Mark Pendleton, chairman of the New Anglia local enterprise partnership (LEP), one of the groups backing the project, says it and other schemes are putting the town firmly on the opportunity map.
He said: “A skilled dynamic workforce is crucial if we are to compete on a UK and global stage and become the economic powerhouse we know we can be.
“This new centre means hundreds of youngsters across the region will be trained in vital subjects such as science, technology and engineering, skills we know businesses in Norfolk are crying out for.
“Together with King’s Lynn’s new Innovation Centre, West Norfolk is fast becoming a go-to business destination that will inspire future students and budding entrepreneurs for years to come.”
The new building will provide a 120-seat multimedia lecture theatre and 14 digital classrooms, plus offices and social space.
The project is being funded following a successful bid for government funding by the West Norfolk Partnership, which was supported by the LEP, the college and its higher education partner, Anglia Ruskin University.
College principal David Pomfret said the centre would enable them to offer a wider range of courses than are currently available.
He said: “I am confident that this will enable us to provide a high quality teaching and learning facility for those wishing to progress into higher education in the local area.
“I look forward to seeing the progression of the new building over the coming months.”