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Full details of Rochdale colleges' £100million investment

Date published: 07 August 2008


Further Education in Rochdale is set to be transformed thanks to a £100million boost from the Learning and Skills Council, as bids for the new Rochdale Sixth Form College and Hopwood Hall College recently received formal approval.

Hopwood Hall College has been successful in securing £71 million to fund a complete rebuild of the Rochdale campus and substantial regeneration at Middleton campus, creating a state-of-the-art vocational college by 2011. £30 million will create the brand new Rochdale Sixth Form College. Due to open in September 2010, this independent institution will share Hopwood Hall’s town centre site on St Mary’s Gate.

Rochdale Council and Hopwood Hall College believe the two projects, totalling a massive £100 million investment, will offer Rochdale learners exceptional academic and vocational opportunities in outstanding surroundings.

Once open, the Sixth Form College will take over all existing A level provision currently offered by Hopwood Hall and local schools, but until then Hopwood Hall will continue to deliver A levels. Hopwood Hall will remain open throughout the re-development process, offering the full range of courses, with minimal disruption to students throughout the building process. With construction work due to begin in summer 2009, certain courses will be relocated to suitable nearby facilities as the project moves thorough each phase towards completion.

Hopwood Hall College’s Principal Derek O’Toole said: “We are delighted that we now have the means to create a modern new vocational college for the Rochdale borough. The project complements ongoing activities under Building Schools for the Future and those of the Rochdale Sixth Form College, which will neighbour our new build at St Mary’s Gate. The project also reflects and supports the 14-19 Strategy for Rochdale and beyond by incorporating support for the delivery of the specialised diploma portfolios. We feel these two fantastic institutions will serve to enhance the ongoing regeneration of the Rochdale borough.”

The Rochdale Sixth Form College was approved in writing by Bill Rammell MP, Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, to the delight of Terry Piggott, Executive Director for Children & Young People’s Services at Rochdale Borough Council.

Mr Piggott said: “It’s a hugely exciting prospect to have two brand new state-of-the-art colleges facing each other across the River Roch. A total investment on this scale is great news for post-16 education and training in the borough.”

Assistant Director for Corporate Services at Hopwood Hall, Sarfraz Arfan commented: “The scale of this investment provides a rare opportunity to create a learning environment that will benefit current and future generations. Exciting and challenging times lie ahead and over the coming months we will be engaging staff, students, parents, future students, schools and the local community to ensure the outcome is the best possible fit for everyone. We also aim to maximise the community benefit during the construction phase, by inviting local subcontractors to tender work packages and provide employment opportunities for new entrants and skilled workers, wherever possible."

Plans for St Mary’s Gate, Rochdale

The Rochdale campus will under-go radical re-development with a stunning new building planned for the College Road frontage; the existing engineering block will make way for a modern six storey structure. The ground floor will house an impressive restaurant and a hairdressing and beauty salon which will both be open to the public.

The Rochdale Sixth Form Centre will occupy the existing Hopwood Hall site on the south bank of the Rover Roch/St Mary’s Gate frontage. Together, both projects see the beginning of the new learning quarter for Rochdale come into creation.

Plans for Rochdale Road, Middleton

Hopwood Hall’s Middleton Campus will retain the listed Milnrow building – (former chapel and prototype for Liverpool cathedral) and those ‘of local importance’ (Littleborough and Ashworth buildings). These buildings will be redeveloped and include the creation of a new multi-purpose events space and performance venue for the Performing Arts students who are to re-locate from their current facilities on the Rochdale Campus. Old residential units will be demolished with land returning to grass and woodland.

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