The college has unveiled designs for the first phase of its 290,000 sq ft campus in Manchester, designed by SimpsonHaugh and Bond Bryan.
This opening phase will include nearly 200,000 sq ft of education space focussed on creative and performing arts on the former Boddingtons Brewery site off Great Ducie Street and opposite the Manchester Arena.
This will include a wide range of facilities, featuring a theatre, film studios, music practice rooms, student hubs, IT suites, a training hair and beauty salon, and a photography studio.
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Manchester College’s theatre will be at the centre of the development in a so-called ‘jewel box’ in the middle of the main building’s atrium; the architects said this would create a “distinctive image for the campus” to attract both students and the wider public.
Willmott Dixon is to deliver the first phase of the campus after beating rival bidders Bam, Bouygues, Bowmer + Kirkland, and Vinci, as revealed by Place North West in April this year.
Under Willmott Dixon’s programme, work is set to start on 6 January next year and will complete in mid-January 2022. A planning application has also been put forward to Manchester City Council.
A second phase is likely to follow based on student demand, adding up to a further 113,000 sq ft of teaching space focussed on business and professional studies.
Place first revealed the college had chosen the Boddington’s site for its city-centre campus last summer, while Manchester City Council agreed to support the move with a £27.6m loan, agreed in December.
The council adopted a strategic regeneration framework for the wider site in 2015; this still contains an ambition to deliver a multi-storey car park, likely to be on the northern part of the site, accessed via Francis Street.
The site has since seen the development and sale of a Travelodge by Marcus Worthington Properties, but has mostly been used as surface parking. Prosperity Capital Partners this year secured consent for 556 apartments, billed as Old Brewery Gardens; this part of the site is understood to be up for sale.
The move by the college for a new-build campus is part of a wider estates rationalisation strategy which has seen a number of assets brought to market; the 39,000 sq ft St John’s building by Spinningfields is earmarked for redevelopment, as is the 97,000 sq ft Shena Simon campus just off Chorlton Street.
Manchester College has also started the search for a contractor to deliver an overhaul of its Openshaw Campus, which will include the construction of a four-storey sports and social care building, featuring a six-court sports hall, gym, exercise studio, strength and conditioning labs, and classrooms.
There will also be a floodlit artificial turf football pitch build at the site with spectator seating, along with a single-storey extension to the existing Whitworth House to act as teaching space for construction skills.
The professional team on the first phase of the Boddingtons campus also includes planner Avison Young; cost and project manager Pearson Fraser; structural engineer Aecom; services engineer BDP; fire and acoustic engineer Hoare Lea; SK Transport Planning; Scott Hughes Design; and principal designer Robinson Low Francis.