TEACHERS and students at Rutland County College are ready to celebrate the start of the new term with the opening of its new £5.5m centre.
The site in Barleythorpe, which has been designed to reflect the feel of Rutland, is now finished and staff have been busy putting together the final touches before students arrive for the beginning of the academic year on Monday.
The college has been developed in the former Barleythorpe Conference Centre with a rural feel to reflect the look of the county. There’s lots of greenery and old pictures of county villages on its walls, which have been provided by Rutland County Museum.
Head of the college Carl Smith is delighted the new centre is up and running and is ready for the start of the new term.
He said: “It’s absolutely fabulous and we’re very excited to have the new centre open and ready for the start of term.
“Post-16 education in Rutland is very much alive and well and we’re all delighted. It’s a huge step forward for young people in the county.
“We have deliberately designed the building to reflect everything that is great about the county and we’re really happy with how it looks. There’s lots of greenery and it’s quite small to reflect the warmth and friendliness of the Rutland.
“We’re now just sorting out the finishing touches before the students arrive on Monday. It’s so exciting.”
The conversion from conference centre to college has cost £5.5m.
Other work that was needed for the development included widening the corridors, opening a cafeteria and creating open study areas for students.
A specialist foundation suite has also been developed for students with learning difficulties and the college has built on its music, drama, media and science facilities.
The college has seen a rise in the number of people applying to study there this year.
More than 260 young people are expected to enrol at its new site.
Mr Smith said: “We’ve had a 50 per cent increase on the number of students that have enrolled this year and we’re absolutely thrilled.
“We’re attracting people right across Rutland and are catering for all types of students, from those in foundation learning, to those looking to get into Oxbridge and red brick universities.”
The college moved out of its old site in Barleythorpe Road, Oakham, last week. Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has expressed an interest in moving on to the site.