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College's new era is dawning!
The first stage of a regeneration project for Bradford College is nearing completion.
The college plans to provide a learning environment fit for the 21st century by housing students in new, state-of-the-art buildings and refurbishing current facilities.
Phase One of the scheme, an £18 million eco-friendly campus built for construction and engineering students alongside a large sports centre, is set for completion by June.
The new building is being constructed on the former site of the college's McMillan Halls of Residence in Easby Road, demolished last year.
They will cater for more than 900 students and provide modern workshops, staff and student areas, Wi-Fi technology, computer suites and room for dedicated student services.
Michele Sutton, chief executive and principal, said the college was entering an exciting time. "We will be enrolling students to start here in September.
"It's a very exciting time for the college, things are moving on at quite a pace. We now have a new building and the plans for Phase Two are under way.
"It will add to the regeneration of the area. Students and staff will be able to take advantage of the businesses in the area and create a real buzz.
"As always our mission is to provide the best education experience for our students."
Sporting facilities will include a 1,000 metre sports hall - the size of eight badminton courts - sports and fitness laboratories, a fitness testing suite, a dedicated sport theory room and aerobics and dance studio complete with fully-sprung wooden floor.
Basketball courts, five-a-side football pitches and all-weather surfaces will also be available to students and for community use outside college hours.
Mike Lowe, West Yorkshire director of the Learning and Skills Council, said: "It's a super building. It looks great, is on time, on budget and is in the public sector. We are going to get a proper 21st century building fit for 21st century learning."
Matt Borland, project architect at Jefferson Sheards, said: "The design of the building is a contemporary response to the Georgian terraced housing surrounding the site towards Easby road."
Subsequent phases, which have yet to be finalised, include the demolition of the Westbrook and Randall Well buildings on Great Horton Road to make way for a new complex nearer the city centre.
The college is also planning to use the re-developed Odeon building as a gateway to its Westbrook campus.
e-mail: dan.webber @bradford.newsquest.co.uk