AFTER years of planning the new Thurrock Campus of South Essex College of Further & Higher Education has finally been given the green light.
Work can begin on the impressive three and four storey college buildings that are set to increase learning facilities and create more learning opportunities for young people and businesses right across the local area.
The new College buildings are to be located at the end of Grays High Street and are planned to be open to students and public alike for September 2014. New Principal and Chief Executive, Angela O’Donoghue, met with Thurrock Council’s Chief Executive, Graham Farrant, for the first time to discuss the important project.
Angela said: “The new Thurrock Campus is set to be a ‘milestone’ for education locally and most importantly for those people who will be benefiting from all it will bring, the students. These new facilities will also enable the College to better meet the skill needs of employers both locally and regionally.”
Expanding its course offer, the new Campus will include cutting edge training facilities for gas and heating and sustainable technologies. There will also be greater space dedicated to catering and beauty students, some of which will be open to the public. Other areas will include beauty salons and training kitchens that will offer a greater number of places than they currently do at Woodview, hairdressing salons, a specialist healthcare area and childcare centre will both be designed for purpose.
There will also be welding bays, brickwork, carpentry, engineering, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, logistics, IT and media, including costume production, fine art and technical theatre. A library and study facilities will also feature, all of which will help the local area and local people meet the skills challenges of the 21st century.
Angela continued: “This will be a facility of which the local area can be proud. It will serve students across Thurrock and Grays and beyond, and will be an integral part of the regeneration of Grays Town Centre, in which the College has a key role to play.”
Exploratory work has already taken place on the new College site by its contractor, Skanska, and work is expected to start on the site, which includes the old Council car park, in October. This will include erecting hoarding around the site and also an electricity sub-station for utility services.
Graham Farrant, Chief Executive of Thurrock Council, said: “After many years in the planning the vision can now begin to become a reality and work can now start on delivering this exciting scheme. The design is set to create a modern and vibrant facility which will improve the learning and overall experience of students attending the College and is set to transform the look and fortunes of the High Street.
“It is also the cornerstone to our plans for reinvigorating Grays and the town centre with thousands of students and staff members coming in – a real win-win.”