Following completion of its new multi-million pound campus, Telford College has welcomed its first students into the custom-built, state-of-the-art facility, which is situated on Edinburgh's regenerated waterfront.
The largest purpose-built college structure to be erected in Scotland for over 30 years will cater for over 20,000 students and nearly 600 staff and was officially opened by the First Minister Jack McConnell on Friday 15th September.
The construction of the new facility, which was built to replace Telford’s four existing campuses, took more than two years to complete. Work commenced in February 2004 and was completed in May this year. The project, which had a construction spend of nearly £50m, was managed by Faithful+Gould and designed by architects HOK International. More than 20 different sub-contractors worked on the development with design and build contractor ISG Interior Exterior leading the construction team.
Kerr Simpson, Senior Project Manager at Faithful+Gould acted as Employer’s agent on the project. He said, "The new Telford College was a very interesting project to manage. Throughout the build, we worked related with coordinating closely with representatives of the College to ensure that the new building would meet their needs. Two of our biggest challenges were addressing all of the issues a disparate college estate into one single campus and ensuring that the build was delivered in time for the start of the 2006/2007 academic year, coinciding with the relocation from the old campuses."
The new facility has enabled Telford College to enhance its functions as an innovative further education campus and a major resource for the local community, bringing the latest developments in teaching and educational technology to the city. General purpose classrooms and PC labs lead off a system of unique "Learning Streets" which are 3 stories high while day-lit open plan areas provide a flexible educational resource, with computer plug-in facilities to accommodate the trend toward individual learning. Purpose-specific rooms on the second floor are linked by bridges that span the atrium which allows daylight to reach the floor beneath.
"One of the most unique things about this project," continues Kerr, "was the range of facilities that were required on one site. Practical courses are a huge percentage of the College’s offering so a number of different tailor-made teaching facilities had to be created under one roof. These ranged from joinery, welding and plastering units for the Building and Engineering department to the Hair and Beauty teaching salons which are open to public use."
During the opening ceremony, First Minister Jack McConnell said: "This campus has been the largest single college construction project in the UK in recent years. The building reflects Telford's innovative approach to learning and it is a place in which people will be very serious about learning because they can see how serious the College is. The College has built up a great reputation for accessibility and flexibility and I hope that remains true in this excellent new facility."
Donald Lawson, Chief Operating Officer at Faithful+Gould added, "The new Telford College is a major stage in the ongoing redevelopment of North Edinburgh and we are very proud to have been involved in delivering this fantastic and innovative facility. We have been working on this project since the very early stages when the initial bids for funding were made and I'm delighted to see the College now finally opening its doors. It is, without doubt, one of the finest educational establishments in Scotland which students from across the region will benefit from for years to come."