£50m college hits right note

Impressed: Students in class at the new Barnsley College which opened after years of uncertainty.
Impressed: Students in class at the new Barnsley College which opened after years of uncertainty.

STUDENTS were given the red carpet treatment and a musical VIP reception as they entered their new Barnsley College building for the first time.

The £50 million structure which now dominates the town’s skyline has finally opened ending years of uncertainty.

On song: Tom Casserly, with college band the Bam Shoots.

On song: Tom Casserly, with college band the Bam Shoots.

Students were especially impressed with the college’s atrium - the centrepiece of the nine-storey building.

They gathered to watch a performance by the college band, the Bam Shoots.

The new campus which houses 6,000 students is open after seven years of planning and two years of construction.

The building on Old Mill Lane was designed by local architects Jefferson Sheard and includes state-of-the-art facilities and equipment.

It offers classrooms, workshops, IT and learning resources including hair and beauty salons, training kitchen facilities, dance studios, a radio and TV studio, two recording studios kitted out with gear used by top record labels, and wi-fi access throughout.

It also includes specially designed study and social spaces and dedicated personalised learning zones.

College principal Colin Booth said: “We are absolutely delighted at being able to provide a fantastic 21st century building for Barnsley combined with excellent teaching and learning.

“With the addition of this superb building we have a college to be proud of.

“The new Old Mill Lane building will mean we can look forward with confidence in our facilities for post-16 education and training for young people, adults and the business community for many years to come.”

At one stage the rebuilding programme was in doubt due to a national funding crisis for further education.

But because demolition of the old college had already begun, the go-ahead was given for the new project to be completed.

It was one of only 13 projects out of 144 to reach completion around the country.