BOSSES at the newly merged Edinburgh College have unveiled a landmark £5 million investment aimed at transforming its oldest campus into a “state-of-the-art” education gateway.
They said that cutting-edge learning spaces, a brand new entrance and cafe, and a base for the institution’s Students’ Association would be created at its Sighthill campus – previously Stevenson College.
The multi-million pound revamp will also provide a mezzanine-based learning resource centre designed to maximise collaborative and group study opportunities.
Mandy Exley, principal of Edinburgh College, said: “We believe in providing an inspiring learning environment at all of our campuses in which to study and work, and the Sighthill Campus redevelopment will deliver this.” The new work at Sighthill comes after a series of upgrades at the college’s other Edinburgh sites in Milton Road, Granton and Midlothian – all taken over when Stevenson, Telford and Jewel and Esk Valley colleges merged last autumn.
A “music box” for creative industry classes and new fitness facilities in the college’s centre for sport and exercise have already been built at Sighthill as part of ongoing improvement work.
Ms Exley added: “Not only will the redevelopment revitalise the look of the campus with its contemporary design, but it will also create dynamic spaces for learning, and enhance the feeling and atmosphere of community on campus.
“Edinburgh College offers some of the most innovative learning spaces in Scotland in which to learn the latest skills.
“This helps to ensure our students have the facilities to become well trained and highly employable when they leave us.”
The revamp has also been praised by student leaders.
Student president-elect Kelly Parry told the Evening News: “The redevelopment is great news for the college and will mean that the main base of the Students’ Association will be at the centre of the campus, which will help us to interact closely with students.
“The investment in college facilities and infrastructure sends out a message that we have a bright future as a modern college with an ambition to deliver the very best facilities for students.”
The development comes only weeks after the college released a five-year strategy document in which directors pledged to reverse the downward trend in student places by overseeing a 20 per cent increase in capacity and revenue by 2018.
Troubled start to a new era
EDINBURGH College’s landmark investment marks an improving picture for the newly formed institution after a rocky nine months.
Following the merger of Telford, Stevenson and Jewel & Esk Valley colleges in autumn last year, directors have been by hit by criticisms over their decision to axe dedicated, campus-based student counselling services, and reports teaching staff were suffering amid a “culture of bullying”.
And in February, a number of students and staff who ate spoiled tuna in a college canteen were hospitalised after they began vomiting and struggling for breath.
But news of the upgrade at Sighthill, which comes on top of revamps at sites across the Edinburgh College estate, will be welcomed by executives as
they press ahead with the pursuit of ambitious targets on student numbers and revenue.