Kirklees College welcomed guests involved in the funding, planning and construction of their new Huddersfield Centre due to open in 2012, at a topping out ceremony. On Friday 4 March, Geoff Russell chief executive of the Skills Funding Agency joined Kirklees College principal Chris Sadler, leader of Kirklees council Mehboob Khan and a host of other guests to unveil a commemorative stone at the site of the new college development.
Kirklees College was one of 13 in England to receive a grant from the Skills Funding Agency (previously Learning and Skills Council) for a new building in 2009.
As the countdown to the opening of the new £74million college centre shortens, the topping out ceremony marked the completion of the highest level of the building. The nine floors of the ‘multi-block’ will make up a large part of the new learning area as well as business support and reception areas. The centre is a split level campus; the multi-block starts three floors below Manchester Road level but towers six floors above it, boasting an excellent view of the town.
The commemorative stone, which will eventually be placed within the wall at the canal side of the college, was revealed to guests on the eighth floor of the multi-block. The ceremonial stone is Stanton Moor sandstone and has been used for centuries within Yorkshire and is in keeping with many properties within Huddersfield and the surrounding area.
Principal Chris Sadler who retires in May 2011, said he will still take a keen interest in the progress of the college and says this landmark occasion will be one to remember.
He said: “This ceremony is about positivity in education and the local area. The next few years will be challenging for further education colleges across the country but we are in a fortunate enough position to have something to look forward to. The building itself is now taking shape and it is becoming easier to imagine learners and staff busy at work in state of the art facilities that we envisaged two years ago.
“Today is about optimism and looking up. The new college centre will provide the community with an excellent new resource and it’s worth celebrating.”
Kirklees College’s new Huddersfield Centre has been designed by architects at the Manchester office of Broadway Malyan who practice international architecture, urbanism and design. The main contractor is Allenbuild and the building is part of a project managed by Strategic Sites for the new Waterfront Quarter development.
Tim Brown, Director of Architecture at Broadway Malyan, said:
"Having been involved in the project for over five years this milestone is testament to the hard work and dedication of the client and design team. It will be an inspiring place to study and work. Students and staff can now get a real sense of the scale and size of their new college building and its place in the town.
“The project further enhances our portfolio of education projects, with the practice having designed a series of award-winning schools, colleges and universities and delivered unrivalled learning and teaching environments in the UK and around the world."
A release of 230 balloons representing the 230 new rooms where future learners will perfect their skills also took place. The balloons each hold the name of a college student or staff member. The name on the balloon that reaches the furthest distance will receive a prize donated by construction company Allenbuild.
In September 2012, Kirklees College, Huddersfield Centre, Waterfront Quarter will replace the current building on New North Road. In addition to the Waterfront construction, the college will open a new engineering and motor vehicle centre on St Andrews Road. Work is due to begin on this centre in the next few weeks.
More information about the new building and to view the live web cam go to www.kirkleescollege.ac.uk/info/newbuild