A MAJOR £3m revamp at South Tyneside College is to go ahead this summer, the Gazette can reveal.
The college’s D Block is to undergo a complete refurbishment to develop a whole new set of vocational facilities for students.
It has been made possible after a £1m capital Enhanced Renewal Grant from central government. The remaining £2m of funding is to be made up from the college’s reserves.
The project comes after it was announced the college, in St George’s Avenue, South Shields, was scrapping A-levels, a move towards more vocation-led courses.
That means school-leavers wanting to take A-level courses from September will now have to fight for a place at one of the borough’s two sixth forms or travel outside the borough.
That decision to scrap the “gold standard” qualification was criticised by some educationalists.
But Lindsey Whiterod, principal and chief executive of South Tyneside College, believes the new refurbishment plans will create “world-class” facilities.
She said: “This is fantastic news for South Tyneside College, and for education provision in the borough.
“The extensive work we’ll be carrying out will see us enhance facilities here even further, and provide world-class learning environments.”
The new facilities will include two learning lounges, which will focus on skills development and employability, and a ‘superlab’, designed in consultation with employers.
This will be a real working laboratory, where students will develop skills to take up technical level lab posts.
The top of D block will have a mock hospital ward, IT provision, entrepreneur incubation units and Bounce – a table tennis club, which will add to the exisiting leisure facilities for students.
Work is to start in the summer, with completion expected before the end of the year.
The latest Government capital funding grant is the college’s third in recent years.
They paid for work on the refectory, hair and beauty, catering and the main entrance, and also covered new facilities at the college’s Marine School, including a new entrance, an extended learning centre and new music and media facilities.