College arts building finance approved

Wigan & Leigh College has secured funding for a new £17.8m Arts Facility as part of its £27.7m investment across the campus.

The Skills Funding Agency has granted the project £5.9m; the college will finance the remainder.

The existing School for the Arts Building, the old Linacre School building, will be demolished to make way for the new facility.

A spokesman for the college said the architect has not yet been selected for the project.

The new building will be linked to the newly completed £5.4m Professional Studies Building and the refurbished main building with its new £5.5m Gateway entrance, transforming the college into one single campus.

Alongside the new arts centre, there will be renovations to the outside of the Parson's Walk Centre Main Building and the Tower Block will be over-clad, and have new windows installed to improve carbon emissions.

Cath Hurst, college principal, said: "The next stage of our £30m investment is an exciting one as it will facilitate the integration of the college and create a wonderful fit-for-purpose space for our students to learn in. Our existing School for the Arts is outdated, having been built 60 years ago when the demands on it were different. This new building allows us to adapt to the changes in curriculum and cater for all the needs of our learners.

"We aim to provide all our students with the best learning environment possible, and once all the work is completed, we believe we will have some of the finest facilities in the area."

A planning application is expected to be submitted in early spring, with construction due to commence in early autumn. Work is set to be completed in September 2015.

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