Northumberland College has officially broken ground for works to commence on the £2.5m state-of-the-art STEM Centre at its Ashington campus, scheduled to be completed by summer 2017.
Two North East based firms have been appointed by the College to complete the re-development. Project managers Summers-Inman, who offer project and cost management services, along with development monitoring and building surveying. ESH Build are one of the largest building contractors in Northern England, with a wide range of clients in both the public and private sector, ranging from education to health.
Paul Redman, divisional director of Esh Build, part of Esh Group, said: "The Esh Build team is looking forward to starting work on this exciting project for Northumberland College.
"Building this type of specialist space for the education sector is where our strengths lie.
The new Northumberland College STEM Centre will be an asset to the local community."
Principal and Chief Executive of Northumberland College, Marcus Clinton said: "This is a very exciting time for the College and we are very pleased to have appointed Esh Build as the contractors for our STEM Centre who have worked on many major projects around the north.
The development of this building is very good news for us and for Northumberland, following on from an exceptionally successful year of achievements and outcomes for students."
The new centre will be home to specialist science and technology workshops with dedicated facilities that will include a class 10,000 clean room, Digital 3D imagery equipment, nanotechnology, microscopes, specialist chemicals and fab labs where budding product designers and entrepreneurs can access the latest in digital fabrication equipment for prototyping.
Marcus continued: "There are skills shortages within science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) so we will be adding new courses that are designed with feedback from employers and cover fabrication, processing, IT and digital, robotics and hydraulics, this training will benefit our students and the local economy."
Proposed timescales include the building's foundations being laid before Christmas with building competition set for the end of July, ready for occupation by mid-August in time for the new cohort of students starting in September.
The new science and technology centre will also provide a base for maths and digital courses at the College.
The project received £2.3m funding from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership's (North East LEP's) Local Growth Fund.
North East LEP Board Member David Land said: "Access to training and skills is fundamental to delivering our vision of creating more and better jobs for the North East.
"It's fantastic to see this project come to life; people from across the North East will be able to access training that meets a genuine need in the labour market, and we're pleased to see it underway."
This latest investment follows £10m that has been injected across all campuses to see a new hair and beauty salon, restaurant and kitchen, engineering and construction academies and new student hub at Ashington. Plus, new workshops for agriculture and arboriculture, learning resource centre and classroom block at Kirkley Hall.
To find out more about courses at the College please visit www.northumberland.ac.uk.