It Is a striking new feature dominating the Huddersfield skyline.

And the facts and figures behind Kirklees College’s £74m Huddersfield Centre make fascinating reading.

The landmark building, a key part of the town’s Waterfront Quarter, opened its doors to students this week.

Despite the fact that the structure was months behind schedule, there was a very warm welcome to students from staff at the new complex.

College principal Peter McCann, said: “I don’t want anyone to think this college is isolationist. I want this college to be an important part of this community.”

The building sits on a triangle of land between Manchester Road and Chapel Hill, and overlooks both the River Colne and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.

The behind-the-scenes story of the build is intriguing.

Work on the foundations saw engineers install two kilometres of piling, 1,500 tonnes of steel reinforcement and a staggering 15,000 cubic metres of concrete which is equivalent to 36,000 tonnes or 2,500 truck loads.

Above that are 600 tonnes of steel beams and columns.

For cladding, the external walls required 8,000 sqm of wall panelling, some 6,000 sqm of rainscreen cladding, 1,750 cubic metres of insulation and 4,000 sqm of glazing.

There are nine lifts serving a total of 21 floors across the three blocks with a total travel distance of around 775 metres.

 

The adjacent stair flights give a total of 902 steps to keep everyone healthy.

At the peak of the works there were between 280 and 300 people directly employed on site but that could be multiplied by five for support and office staff associated with the different sub-contractors involved.

The new building will have a capacity of about 2,500 students at any one time, with up to 500 staff also on campus.

Facilities include seven hair and beauty salons, four training kitchens, one training restaurant with views of the Waterfront, five science labs and six business suites.

In addition there are specialist health and social care workshops, customised childcare workshops and even a startlingly-realistic aircraft cabin simulator and check-in desk for students studying tourism courses.

The college has social facilities for students including a fully-equipped gym and fitness studio, a refectory, cafe and shop.

The new Huddersfield Centre will offer full and part-time courses in art and design, business, childhood studies, computing and ICT, English for speakers of other languages, foundation learning, hair and beauty therapy, health and social care, hospitality and catering, public services, science, sport and travel and tourism.