Plans for new £7.9m technical college in Plymouth are approved
PLANS for Plymouth's £7.9million University Technical College have been given the go-ahead.
Plymouth City Council's planning department has approved plans to create UTC Plymouth on the site of the former Parkside School, in Devonport.
It will be the South West's first University Technical College, a new way of learning for youngsters aged 14 to 19, and link closely with employers.
The development, specialising in marine and manufacturing, will take just a year to complete – it is planned for it to be open for its first students from September 2013.
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Students wanting to study at UTC Plymouth will be able to apply from next month.
The college will open with 75 places available for Year 10 and 75 for Year 12, for boys and girls from across Plymouth, South Devon and South East Cornwall.
Those numbers will increase over the next four to five years.
UTC Plymouth will be created by transforming the ex-Parkside site with some newly constructed buildings, designed specifically to allow students to complete practical employer-driven projects, and by revamping some existing buildings and facilities.
Some classrooms will be modern, yet traditional and business-like in design, whilst others will resemble advanced manufacturing-style workshops with hangar doors leading outside to enable large machinery to be transported in for assignments.
The building has been designed by Stonehouse-based architecture firm Stride Treglown and the work will be carried out by BAM Construction, expected to be on-site from next month.
There will also be a new canteen, reception area and central outdoor space for students to spend free time.
The plans also envisage new indoor sports and changing facilities.
The UTC is now seeking funding to upgrade the outdoor sports facilities and provide amenities for community use.
The building's design and equipment has been heavily influenced by Plymouth employers.
The city's manufacturing and engineering experts will be closely involved in the employer-led practical and real-world challenges that will form a significant part of the curriculum.
Councillor Nicky Williams, Cabinet member for Children and Young People, said: "Everything about UTC Plymouth has been designed to be dynamic and different so its students will learn in a way that prepares them for their future careers within the highly-skilled fields of marine engineering and advanced manufacturing.
"Its physical environment is no exception and will ideally cater for the specialist learning that will take place at the college.
"I'm thrilled that the plans have now been approved and building work can begin as early as next month."
Brian Warren, project lead for UTC Plymouth, said: "We are immensely grateful for all of those involved in this very necessary but inevitably tricky process, and this pivotal decision marks another very significant milestone in the journey for the UTC.
"Our contractor, BAM, will hopefully be on site in early September and passers-by on Park Avenue, will quickly see a difference within a month or so."
UTC Plymouth's main sponsors are Plymouth University, City College Plymouth and Plymouth City Council. It also has employer sponsors led by Babcock Marine and including Princess Yachts International, Plymouth Manufacturers Group, Plymouth Chamber of Commerce and Plymouth Federation of Small Businesses.