St Albans college celebrating green light for state-of-the-art renovations
PUBLISHED: 21:00 08 November 2017
A St Albans college is celebrating after being given the green light for state-of-the-art renovations and improvements to its facilities.
As part of a 350-home housing development Oaklands College’s Smallford campus will be given £51million for a five year enhancement programme, which will be usedto address dilapidated buildings and build new facilities.
Taylor Wimpey’s initial 2013 application to develop the site was refused - but has now been approved on appeal by Planning Inspector Phillip Ware because of the special educational benefit associated with the plans, which can only be enabled by the housing development.
New student accommodation, administration areas, teaching centres, workshops, and a sports pavilion are included in the scheme.
Disabled students on the college’s Landmark programme will be able to move out of the demountable buildings where their lessons are currently held, into the specially purposed Gateway Building.
Alongside the classrooms Gateway will house a new student lounge, support services, and refectory - making sure the disabled students feel simultaneously integrated into the Oaklands community and close to a safe space.
A new sports pavilion will provide lockers, changing rooms, and a viewing platform for spectators, as well as classrooms for theoretical lessons.
Building work will take place gradually over five years to minimise disruption.
Director of student experience Sean Scully insisted the plans are not intended primarily to expand intake numbers, but to enable the college to carry on teaching at a high level.
He said: “The campus redevelopment will have a hugely positive impact on the student experience. Our students will be able to learn and develop within state-of-the-art facilities offering the best possible learning environment.”
Oaklands principal Zoe Hancock said she was delighted the scheme had received the go-ahead: “It will help us achieve our vision of improving the facilities for our college.
“Our students and staff continue to contribute so much to the local community and by offering exceptional and highly sustainable learning facilities we will create an asset the community can truly be proud of.”
People can view plans for the renovations at the Oaklands College open day on November 11.