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West Suffolk College STEM campus was opened on Friday

A new college campus is set to be completed on schedule with the first students walking through the innovative building’s doors today.

West Suffolk College’s campus for STEM Innovation for the Eastern Region, in Western Way, Bury St Edmunds, will be the new centre for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The development has been split into three phases.

Project manager Michael Peachey. Picture by Mark Westley.
Project manager Michael Peachey. Picture by Mark Westley.

Phase one will see computing and engineering move over, while science is expected to transfer within 12 months as part of phase two.

On the building’s progress, Michael Peachey, project manager, said: “It’s going great. I suppose it’s an excellent start to achieving a redevelopment of the site, with the support from New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), we’ve been able to achieve an excellent start for the students of Bury St Edmunds and the surrounding areas.

“We want to thank Pick Everard, Coulson and the local sub-contractors.”

The current campus development will see a large portion dedicated towards further education and higher education student learning, with the balance committed to providing for local businesses’ bespoke employer training facilities.

An employer engagement team will offer a full provision of business and employer training.

There are 10 classrooms, six laboratories and two seminar rooms.

Each classroom has facilities for 24 students, with the capacity for 350 students on site at any one time.

All rooms are air conditioned and are equipped with acoustic panels to minimise vibration.

The redevelopment covers a 5.5 acre site and the project is set to cost around £8 million.

The New Anglia LEP has invested £7 million into the STEM campus project through the Growth Deal Programme, with other funding coming from key businesses and West Suffolk Council.

Michael added that it was hoped to reach completion in the next five years ‘if we can attract the right level of funding’, and that funding was still being sought.

“It’s an exciting new adventure. With state-of-the-art STEM facilities for the people of this region.

“We have excellent management and business training, the curriculum is being aligned to the skills local employers want – the skills that they want young people to have. We are providing training that employers say they require.”

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