THE traditional ground-breaking ceremony has marked the start of construction on the new Thurrock Campus in Grays which is set to open in September 2014.
Main contractor, Skanska, is now on site working to complete the £45 million project which is helping to kick-start the regeneration of Grays town centre.
The new Thurrock Campus is set to be a ‘milestone’ for education. New facilities will enable the College to better meet the skill needs of employers both locally and regionally, providing courses to students that will meet local employment and industry demands.
Angela O’ Donoghue, Principal and Chief Executive of South Essex College, said: “It’s great to help kick off the new Thurrock Campus project with all of those who have had a big part to play in it. It is amazing to think that in around 18 months from now we’ll have gone from an empty site to an inspiring new College building.
“The new campus will help us to better meet the needs of business and industry, and help train local people for local jobs in partnership with local employers.”
It will consist of two 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. Its town centre location provides public transport links and will help encourage more people currently not in education, employment or training to come back into education and give them a better future.
Thurrock Council’s Chief Executive, Graham Farrant, said: “Talking about regeneration is one thing, actually seeing something on the ground is something else altogether.
“This ceremony marks the physical start of the regeneration of Grays – going alongside work at DP World in the east of the borough and High House in the west.
“The talking stages are coming to an end and the doing stages are here as the college’s investment in Thurrock takes shape bringing the campus and the town to life.”
Steve Arthrell, Project Director, from Skanska, said: “Since the end of last year, we have been working with staff and students of South Essex College to promote the wide variety of careers available to them in the construction industry.
“By sharing our knowledge and demonstrating the latest techniques used, we hope this will give students the practical experience they need to make a decision on their future careers.”
Upon completion the current Thurrock Campus will move from its present site at Woodview, making way for the construction of 362 new flats and houses by developers, Persimmon Homes. The sale of the College land to Persimmon is helping fund the new £45million college campus.
Managing Director of Persimmon Homes Essex, Duncan Jackson, added: “The construction of properties at Woodview will provide much needed homes to the area whilst enabling the development of the new state of the art college facilities. We hope to forge links with the college in the future working alongside students to support their studies.”
Keep up to date with the developments at the new Thurrock Campus by viewing its webcam which is situated on the Council building opposite. The webcam can be viewed on South Essex College’s website here: www.southessex.ac.uk/newbuilds