WORK begins today on a £70m campus for thousands of students.
Kirklees College is holding an official turf-cutting ceremony at Chapel Hill this afternoon.
The nine-storey building will replace the college’s current headquarters on New North Road in 2012.
And it means that Sellers Engineers Limited on Chapel Hill will have to find a new base next year – just two years short of its 100th birthday.
The company was set up in 1912 and current chairman David Armitage said: “It’s good to see a shovel going into the ground at last. It will be great for Huddersfield that people will see something positive happening and progress after all this time. Boards showing the plans for the site were put up when The Queen came to the University of Huddersfield in May 2007.
“This is positive news for the town and let’s hope all now goes to plan in terms of the timescale. It’s a tremendously exciting time for Kirklees College.
“It also means the start of the countdown to Sellers moving to a new location which will be sometime in the middle or towards the end of next year.”
Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman will take part in today’s turf-cutting ceremony along with Kirklees Council leader Clr Mehboob Khan and college principal Chris Sadler to cut the first piece of turf.
Mr Sheerman said: “I’m delighted to be present at the start of this exciting new development. Huddersfield can be proud of this ambitious and visionary scheme.”
College vice-principal Melanie Brooke added: “The college is really excited to be moving forward on the site and this ceremony marks an important step in turning our plans into reality.”
Six months of preparatory work begins today at the 24,000 sq m site on a triangle of land between Chapel Hill, Manchester Road and the River Colne. Two years of building work will start next Easter, with the new campus opening to students in September 2012.
The £46m building work is being carried out by Leeds-based contractors Allenbuild Limited.
The new campus is being funded by the Learning and Skills Council.
Spokesman Mike Lowe said: “The new campus will pave the way to improve the learning and training opportunities on offer and will complement the recent merger of Dewsbury College and Huddersfield Technical College to form Kirklees College.
“This investment will make sure that Kirklees College can meet the training needs of learners and employers which is vital in the current economic climate to help individuals into employment and help employers through the recession.”
The new campus will be the centrepiece of a wider £175m redevelopment known as the Waterfront Quarter, which will include three blocks of flats and four office buildings and will create 2,000 jobs.