Snooty Oxford and Cambridge colleges are famed for their ‘us’ and ‘them’ attitudes with dire warnings in particular reserved for their pristine lawns.

Kirklees College is not and has never been like that.

So when it relocated an eighth of a mile across the town into shiny new premises, it deliberately sought to maintain its connection with the public.

Yesterday the Waterfront campus, a £74m building anchored between Manchester Road and Chapel Hill, opened for its first day of induction.

A striking feature of the building is The Street, which is open to the public and which leads from the canal at the foot of The Waterfront up a flight of stairs and to the main entrance and Manchester Road.

Even the staircase has been specifically designed to have a built-in sociable aspect with special steps to the side of the stairs so students, members of the public and staff can chill.

Vice-principal Andrea Machell said: “There’s also a ‘break out’ area for staff and students.

“In between lessons people can sit down and have a coffee etc and access to IT as the entire building is ‘Wi-fied’.

“It’s a very social building and we try to get everyone together.

“I keep telling the students to be proud. Officially we are the best college in West Yorkshire in terms of results.”

Principal Peter McCann, who has a proven track record of turning round poorly performing or underperforming colleges, most noticeably at Keighley a few years ago, is anxious to see the college maintain its rate of improvement.

It achieved a ‘Good’ Ofsted report recently, but he says: “With these facilities now there’s no reason why we cannot become an outstanding college.

 

“I don’t want anyone to think this college is isolationist. I want this college to be an important part of this community.”

Yesterday’s low-key opening will be followed by the introduction of many more courses and lectures in the coming weeks.

The new campus was originally intended to open a year ago, but construction problems delayed the build.

The former campus, off New North Road, is on the market to developers.

Bus chiefs have extended Huddersfield’s free bus – to cater for the new Kirklees College.

Metro’s free town bus service is now serving Kirklees College’s new Waterfront Quarter campus in Manchester Road.

Buses are running to and from the Waterfront Quarter every 10 minutes between 8.06am and 5.30pm, providing students with free links to the town centre and Huddersfield bus and rail stations. It will not run on Saturdays and non-college days.

The two, low-floor free town buses carry around 30,000 passengers per month.

Many passengers are elderly people while others are mums with buggies or small children.

The route also includes the University, Kingsgate and the indoor and outdoor markets.