3:15pm Friday 13th September 2013
By Mike Bridgen
A £34M plan to transform Askham Bryan College’s York campus – and increase student numbers by 1,500 – has been revealed.
The vision, unveiled on Wednesday, would be the first major change to the campus since it opened in 1966.
It includes a replacement state of the art animal management centre, an international standard equestrian centre – twice the size of the existing facilities – new staff and student residential facilities, a glazed quadrangle at the heart of the campus, and improvements to the college farm.
A planing application has been submitted to York City Council and the developments would be carried out in three phases. David Spencer, of York-based DSP Architects, and Jennifer Hubbard, town planning consultant, are advising the college which provides education for full and parttime students to honours degree level and specialises in agriculture and land management courses.
Ian Harmer, deputy principal finance and resources, said: “Askham Bryan College has an enviable reputation for providing first-class education for young people across the North of England and beyond.
“Our vision will enable us to offer this to far more students – we envisage our numbers will increase substantially, and given that the plans include new student accommodation, we would also expect students from across a broader geographic area.”
Students at the campus are expected to increase from today’s 2,939 to about 4,500 in the 2017-18 academic year with numbers living on site doubling to 600.
The college has a further nine centres and its overall number of part and full-time students could rise to 6,000 in 2017-18.
Mr Harmer said: “Our aim is to improve and enhance the education for our students, providing work-ready individuals who are very employable.
Some 90 per cent of our students go on to find work on leaving us – creating employable young people is very much our focus.”
If planning permission is granted, the college intends to first build the animal management centre, followed by the equine centre and polo field, new teaching areas, and improvements to the farm buildings.
The animal management centre would aim to open in September 2014 and is likely to be available to the public to visit out of term time.
Mr Harmer said: “I am unaware of any other college in the UK which would be able to offer students both the theoretical skills and the chance to study relatively exotic animals in a natural setting.”
The college’s existing centre already houses animals such as meerkats, mongoose and possum and it is hoped in time to add others including zebra and tapirs to the list.
The final phase would be the new student accommodation, a teaching block and engineering workshop.
In recent years, the college has developed its courses, facilities and new centres for education.
In July 2011, it took over Newton Rigg College, Penrith; last year, 300 acres of farmland were purchased adjoining the York campus; and in June, a 5,000-acre Cumbrian grouse moor was acquired, which is already being used as a teaching resource for students.
As well as Newton Rigg, Askham Bryan has centres at Newcastle, Guisborough, Hexham, Scarborough, Bradford, Harrogate, Wakefield and Thirsk.
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