College set for £18m arts facility

An artist's impression of how the new Arts facility will look at Wigan and Leigh College
An artist's impression of how the new Arts facility will look at Wigan and Leigh College

WIGAN College has received a multi-millon-pound cash boost to take its ambitious regeneration plans to a whole new level.

It has secured funding for a new £17.8m arts project as part of its even bigger £27.7m revamp of the Wigan campus.

The next phase will see a brand new arts facility built, providing a state-of-the art learning base for students. The Skills Funding Agency will provide £5.9m, with the college putting up the remaining sum.

Under the scheme, the existing School for the Arts Building, (the old Linacre School building) will be demolished. The new premises will be linked to the newly completed £5.4m Professional Studies centre and the refurbished main building with its new £5.5m Gateway Entrance transforming the college into one single campus.

The new facility will provide enhanced teaching spaces, as well as improved disabled access.

As well as the new building, renovations to the outside of the Parson’s Walk Centre Main Building and the Tower Block will be over-clad, and have new windows installed to improve the college’s carbon footprint.

Wigan & Leigh College Principal Cath Hurst says she is delighted that the pieces are coming together as planned and believes it will provide an exciting future for students.

She told the Observer: “The next stage of our £30m investment is an exciting one as it will facilitate the integration of the College and create a wonderful fit for purpose space for our students to learn in.

“Our existing School for the Arts is outdated, having been built 60 years ago when the demands on it were different. This new building allows us to adapt to the changes in curriculum and cater for all the needs of our learners.

“We aim to provide all our students with the best learning environment possible, and once all the work is completed, we believe we will have some of the finest facilities in the area.”

“The College has made significant investment in its facilities over recent years, with £5.5 million currently being spent on its Gateway Project to improve the main entrance, the £3 million Professional Studies Building, which opened earlier this year, and £1.4 million on engineering facilities at its Pagefield Centre.

A planning application for the new build is expected to be submitted in early spring, with construction due to commence in early autumn and work set to be completed in September 2015.