College lifts curtain on £1.5m revamp

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A £1.5 million revamp of one of the oldest buildings at West Suffolk College has been officially opened.

The refurbishment has transformed the 60-year-old Edmund House on the Bury St Edmunds campus into a state of the art facility for the School of Participation, Media and Video Production and Performing Arts.

The building, which was originally designed for engineering and construction, also boasts a new theatre.

Work on the centre started after plans for a multi-million pound redevelopment of the campus had to be scrapped following the withdrawal of capital funding.

At the launch, college principal Dr Ann Williams and Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley praised the hard work and determination of staff, officials, architects and builders for turning the situation around.

Dr Williams said: “The approach our governors took as a result of this news was fantastic. They were determined that we had to proceed with improving our facilities and we would do this by a combination of refurbishment and rebuilding, but on a more modest scale and over a longer time period.”

Mr Ruffley added: “It’s my profound belief that the best learning is done in high quality buildings fit for the modern century. This is a testament to the brilliant leadership, the commitment of everyone who studies and teaches here.”

Others welcomed the move including student governor Diem Von Pratt, who said: “I really admire the way the college is always thinking forward.”

Proposals for the college now include a new main further education building and the conversion of Suffolk House into a site for University Campus Suffolk Bury St Edmunds provision.