Staff briefed on £5.5m college expansion plans

Artist's impression of the new teaching centre at the College of West Anglia Isle campus. ENGANL00120131121103725
Artist's impression of the new teaching centre at the College of West Anglia Isle campus. ENGANL00120131121103725

Details of the complicated planning involved in the development of the £5.5m project to create new classrooms and amenities for the Isle campus of the College of West Anglia have been outlined.

Currently the much-needed development is going through the planning process with Fenland District Council.

And Mark Reavell, the College of West Anglia’s executive director partnerships, says he will produce half-termly reports on how things should shape up over the coming two years.

He told staff: “We have completed the review of all aspects of the refurbishment project at Isle which will start this summer.

“Many of you will already be aware of some part of this work and just how complicated a project it will be.

“Whether you are based at Isle or an occasional visitor please be aware of the ever changing landscape at this campus from July 2014 until summer 2016.”

Discussions with staff will begin after Easter.

New build layouts have been agreed and aspects relating to the refurbishment of some rooms have almost been done.

By the middle of this year dates will need to be agreed for the demolition of areas known as F, G14 and Regina House, as well as planning for summer moves.

Mr Reavell said: “This is a really complicated set of works that will affect everyone on site in some way. Timescales are extremely tight and the overlap of various components are liable to cause time delays and knock-on problems.”

In the summer a new car park will be built at the back of the site once F, G14 and Regina House have been demolished.

Other aspects of the plans involve moving staff to different buildings, removing some offices and removing and replacing some flooring.

Parking spaces will be lost once work on the new building begins and refurbishment of other areas.

Work on the new teaching block should begin this autumn and this, and refurbishment work will carry through until the summer of 2015.

In November, the college received the news that it will receive £4.6m from the Government to fund the £5.5m project.

A new 1400m2 teaching centre will be built, providing state-of-the-art teaching and IT facilities for a range of curriculum areas, including health and social care, hair and beauty and uniformed services.

The project, which should be completed by summer 2015, will also include a new main entrance and reception area and a complete refurbishment of the existing A and B buildings, with the expansion of the restaurant, social areas and learning resource centre.

Principal David Pomfret said: “This is fantastic news for the college, Wisbech and the Fenland area.

“This funding will allow us to complete the transformation of the campus and provide some excellent educational and training facilities for Fenland.”

The new building project strengthens the status of the Isle campus and its opportunities to offer even more to potential students from Wisbech, March and across Fenland.