WORK to transform derelict riverside land into a flagship college campus has started.
Construction began on the £73m Kirklees College campus next to the river Colne at Folly Hall yesterday.
The campus, funded by the Learning & Skills Council (LSC), Yorkshire Forward, Kirklees Council and the college, will kickstart development on what will become Huddersfield’s Waterfront Quarter.
The new 260,000sq ft Kirklees College campus is due to open in September 2012.
It is hoped the Waterfront Quarter will create up to 2,000 new jobs with 190,000sq ft of office space, leisure facilities, restaurants and a six-acre public square.
The project will open up Huddersfield Narrow Canal which currently runs under the site to create an attractive waterway which will provide cooling water for the college building.
The public will then be able to access the river and canalside footpaths from the site.
Development plots for offices and leisure will be available from summer next year.
Paul Barber, chief executive of Strategic Sites, which is building the campus, said: “Waterfront Quarter is one of the few major regeneration projects to proceed in the current climate.
“As well as bringing huge benefits to Huddersfield and West Yorkshire in general, the project also marks a shift by Strategic Sites into the role of development management, a natural extension of our traditional role as a developer.”
Planning permission for the new college campus was granted by Kirklees Council in February.
But councillors attacked the campus’s design as ‘awful’ and ‘nondescript’ and like a ‘shoebox’ and a ‘prison’.
The design includes:
A nine-storey block of classrooms clad in grey metal
A covered street with a partially-glazed roof linking the college with Manchester Road
A cube-shaped learning resource centre with dark grey cladding.
The college scheme had been in doubt due to an LSC cash crisis, but last September LSC agreed to fund the campus as one of only 12 granted across England.