BUILDING work has begun on Wigan’s ground-breaking University Technical College.
Principal Designate Chris Hatherall, who is currently busy preparing the curriculum, said today that he was “totally confident” that works would be completed next August in time for the start of the autumn term the following month.
Because the majority of the work is happening inside the former O&D Rushton warehouse on New Market Street, the worsening winter weather shouldn’t effect the progress.
He said: “It is so satisfying to be bringing a wonderful old building like this back to life.
“Work started this week after the contracts were signed with the official principal contractor Eric Wright’s of Preston. So it is full steam ahead from this point onwards right up to the end of August.
“They will be stripping out and refurbishing up to the New Year before work moves onto the back of the warehouse building where a new extension is going to be built after the demolition of a none-listed shop structure.
“I think that the interest in the UTC will really start to grow when people can see that something is now happening and will re-enforce the news that the UTC will be opening as soon as at the end of next September.
“It will also help me when I am talking to the young people and their parents because it shows that something they can believe in really is starting to happen and they can appreciate that things are on target and it is going to happen.”
He hailed the interest from employers, some of who have been “on board since day one,” while others are more recent converts. These include blue chip names such as Siemens, Google (which is sponsoring the UTC’s learning devices), TetraPak and Heinz.
Mr Hatherall is also proud that Wigan UTC is the only one nationally which will deliver technological projects for the food and drink industry. He said: “The wider Wigan industry is also proving receptive to the ideas and concepts the UTC is introducing.”
More recently the Rushton’s building has been used as a gas showroom and the council’s planning department.
An open day is planned for parents and interested parties at Wigan Investment Centre on January 17.
Telephone 0300 365 3675 for more information and to register or log onto www,wiganutc.org