Demolition begins to make way for new university centre

Work has started to demolish the old college building to make place for Wakefield's new university centre.
Work has started to demolish the old college building to make place for Wakefield's new university centre.

Demolition work has begun at Wakefield College to create space for the city’s new university centre.

Demolition work has begun at Wakefield College to create space for the city’s new university centre.

An old building on the corner of Burton Street is being knocked down and a £6.6m ‘advanced skills and innovation hub’ will be built in its place.

The demolition will pave the way for construction work to begin on the new building, which could be open by Easter 2017.

Wakefield College Principal Sam Wright said: “We are really pleased that work is now underway.

“The new centre has received investment of £3.3m by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Deal, a £1 billion package of government investment to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.

“This investment, along with a similar amount from the college, and a further £500,000 from Wakefield Council, is enabling us to deliver a major new addition to the educational infrastructure of Wakefield.”

The university centre will offer higher level apprenticeships, degree courses and professional qualifications.

And the building will also include space for local businesses and employers to work with students and college staff.

It aims to provide more people in the district with higher level skills and boost employment rates.

Wakefield Council’s chief executive Joanne Roney OBE said: “Having a university presence in the district has been a long term ambition in order to attract more highly skilled businesses and jobs to the district.”

The college already offers higher level courses but the new university centre aims to co-ordinate and deliver more courses to more people.

Subjects will include engineering, digital and creative technologies, manufacturing, construction and health and life sciences.

It is expected the centre will enable the college to increase its

capacity by an extra 1,000 students by 2020/21.

The college is also in talks to sell off its Thornes Park campus.