Monday, February 27, 2017

News: Plans in for Rotherham HE Campus

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A planning application has been submitted for the new £12m higher education campus in Rotherham town centre.

Rotherham College, part of RNN Group, is moving fast having secured funding and will open the centre to students in Autumn 2018, offering a new programme of degrees and degree apprenticeships.

The project involves the construction of a 35,500 sq ft campus in Rotherham town centre which is set to be built on the site where the former Victorian hospital at Doncaster Gate was controversially demolished by Rotherham Council.

The plans, drawn up by Bond Bryan Architects, are for a simple L shaped, three storey building that "encourages and supports innovative forms of collaborative working and learning" with adaptable and flexible space from large open plan areas to more cellular classrooms, supported by specialist teaching zones.

The centre will have an average occupancy of approximately 560 people on a typical term day but will be built with expansion in mind and teaching space for approximately 1,000 students.

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The plans state that: "The Centre for Higher Level Skills offers an opportunity to enhance the existing learning facilities at Rotherham College and provide a bespoke environment for higher degree level education that has the potential to develop the college, town and region of tomorrow.

"Externally the design seeks to create a distinctive and exciting building typology delivered within an economic solution. Our intention is to take reference from the surrounding buildings in form and colour, but create a modern contemporary building that provides a high quality statement for the College."

The Sheffield City Region (SCR) Combined Authority has agreed to fund infrastructure works which will allow construction to start in June. A grant of £3.5m has been approved with the balance coming from RNN Group.

A short walk from the College's town centre campus, the whole of the 4.62 acre Doncaster Gate site is not required for the campus and the institution is purchasing the land from Rotherham Council in a half-price deal. The Rotherham Health Village, including two doctors' surgeries, will remain and further plots will be available for development by the Council. A potential extension of the HE campus is also already under consideration.
The planned centre will have a highly glazed frontage, a reception and waiting area under a full height atrium and also contain café space, a library, shared social and informal study space.

One of the issues is the site's lack of parking spaces, with only eight spaces proposed in the plans. With 24 new members of staff, the new HE centre will need to link into RCAT's existing town centre campus with its current parking provision of 78 spaces and the two local public surface car parks located nearby on Percy Street and Wharncliffe Street.

RNN Group website

Images: RNN Group / Bond Bryan


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