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The Corporation

Posted: 22/11/11

Major college expansion gets go-ahead

An “iconic” building that promises to transform vocational learning is coming to Vision West Notts.

Mansfield District Council last night (Monday 21 November) approved plans for a major expansion of the college’s Derby Road campus as part of its ongoing £24m redevelopment.

The £11m building will boast 4,000 sqm of additional teaching and learning space including classrooms, hair and beauty salons, a health spa and fine-dining restaurant.

It will accommodate learners studying hair, beauty and complementary therapies – currently based at ‘The Academy’ in Mansfield town centre – and the hospitality and travel curriculum areas, which are spread across several locations at Derby Road.

As well as providing students with an inspirational learning environment, it is intended the facilities will be open to the public on a commercial basis – giving learners vital work experience and a springboard into higher education or employment.

The structure will be built on the staff car park at the corner of the campus, where it faces the Nottingham Road and Derby Road junction, and on space occupied by the Mansfield college’s ageing gymnasium, which is set to be replaced.  The three-storey element will be on ‘stilts’ to allow car parking underneath.

Meanwhile, the existing outdoor courtyard will be transformed into a light and airy enclosed atrium with glass roof – giving students much-needed extra social space.

Principal and chief executive Asha Khemka OBE said: “I’m delighted the council has backed our plans for this iconic building, which is the cornerstone of our multi-million pound redevelopment.

“As well as providing students with cutting-edge learning facilities, we want to open up the restaurant, health spa and hair and beauty salons to the public.   This means students can put their skills to the test and gain vital work experience, while the community benefits from brand-new facilities right on their doorstep.”

Boasting a futuristic design, the building will make a powerful visual statement at the gateway to the district, say college chiefs.

Consisting of two storeys at its lowest point and three storeys at its highest, it will feature grey cladding on the outside combined with red detailing – with the grey serving as a modern reminder of Mansfield’s coal-mining heritage.

“The building will serve as an impressive gateway into Mansfield and act as a symbol of the community’s ambitions and aspirations for the 21st century,” said Mrs Khemka.

“By approving these plans, it’s clear the council shares our vision of providing world-class facilities for young people and adults across the area.”

Work is expected to start in January, with the building open in early 2013.

The ambitious redevelopment forms plans by the college to bring as much teaching and learning as possible onto its main campus.  Create, its £5m creative arts centre which was officially opened by HRH The Duke of Kent last week, kick-started the scheme.

Other plans include converting the existing three-storey block into more teaching space, and re-cladding the six-storey tower and surrounding buildings to rejuvenate the visual appearance of the campus.

Meanwhile, construction of a new state-of-the-art sports hall, which received planning approval in August, is about to start.  The £1.5m multi-use facility boasting six badminton-sized courts, a sports science laboratory, spectator area and modern changing facilities, is due to open in June.

And a new on-site car park is currently being created, coupled with an extension to the students’ car park off Cauldwell Road. Once complete these will provide an additional 140 parking spaces on-campus.

Mrs Khemka said: “We are absolutely determined to provide our communities with the very best education, training and vocational opportunities around.  This scheme represents the college’s biggest-ever single investment in educational facilities and, once complete, we’ll offer some of the leading learning facilities in the country.”