‘New lease of life’ for college campus

‘New lease of life’ for college campus

Abingdon and Witney College is to undergo a major redevelopment. Assistant principal Fiona Morey, left, and vice principal Andy Ginn, right, are pictured in the existing vehicle workshop

An artist’s impression of the college’s plans

First published in Education Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

MORE than £1m is to be spent to give Abingdon’s college campus “a new lease of life”.

Abingdon and Witney College, which educates about 2,000 students, is preparing a major revamp of its Wootton Road site, coming just after it completed its £7.4m redevelopment of the Witney campus.

Work will start on a new £1.1m motor vehicle maintenance, engineering, and computer design facility in the summer, paid for by the Skills Funding Agency. It is likely to be open to students in September next year.

Vice principal Andy Ginn said the new facility would allow the college to offer more motor and engineering courses and take on 130 more students a year.

He said: “We are hoping to reconfigure our learning environment for the 21st century.

“It will enable progression, that’s the key.

“Like most colleges we feel we have a bit of a cap on what we can offer. This new facility will enable us to raise that cap.”

In addition, the college is also plotting an extensive refurbishment of its Abingdon home with its own cash.

Architects have been commissioned to come up with plans to modernise teaching and communal spaces in the revamp.

As the plans are in early stages it is not known how much that work will cost and what exactly it will involve. Work is also likely to start in the summer and take up to three years. It will include new hair and beauty salons to be opened this September.

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Mr Ginn said it was an exciting time for the college, adding: “It is wonderful. It’s time to give this campus a new lease of life.

“It’s about making the college environment future proof.

“Oxfordshire needs high quality education providers which are going to feed the economy and provide employers with what they need.”

The redevelopment is part of the college’s new ‘Futures’ programme which aims to best prepare students for employment.

Assistant principal Fiona Morey said: “The campus refresh will help provide a college environment which will continue to create rewarding and successful futures for our students.”

Andrew Spargo, curriculum manager for the motor vehicle course, said: “Ultra modern facilities together with some of the latest training aids and diagnostic equipment will improve the learning experience of our students.”

Project manager Michael Chiyasa, who headed the Witney campus redevelopment, will also lead the Abingdon scheme.

He said: “I look forward to bringing the ‘Futures’ curriculum to the forefront of the Abingdon campus learning environment.”

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