A NORTH East college has been given the green light to build new multi-million- pound facilities aiming to create artists and athletes of the future.
Planners have given Sunderland College the go-ahead to spend £22m on state-of-the-art equipment at its Bede campus.
The project will help create two new academies which will see students gaining access to some of the best sports and visual and performing arts facilities in the UK.
The arts academy will cater for a range of dance, drama, music, media, photography, art and design courses.
The academy will also feature separate studios for dance, drama and media studios, and textiles and design.
A sports academy aims to bring top-class facilities such as a sports science laboratory, fitness suites, a treatment room and a four court sports hall.
It will also house fully-equipped teaching areas, kitted out with the latest digital and wireless technology.
Acting principal Nigel Harrett says the project is a major investment by the college: “This is a very exciting time for Sunderland College. We are looking forward to watching the buildings take shape.
“The facilities will be fantastic and existing and future students will reap the benefits of this investment in quality.
“It is never easy to find the money for such ambitious plans but we are determined to create a college that offers the best possible learning experience to students.
“Having sports and performing arts academies will add to our already impressive offer, which includes a vast range of vocational and A-level courses.”
Construction work is due to start in February next year with the new academies due to open in September 2014.
Meanwhile, the college has become the first in the UK to have a National Careers Service automated Information Point or i-Kiosk.
The touch-screen point allows students to gain careers information from the service’s website and other related websites, from gaining the right skills to how to put together the perfect CV.
There is also a direct telephone link to a team of careers advisers through the National Careers Service Helpline.
Jonny Wright, regional manager of the National Careers Service, said: “The i-Kiosks are a great use of technology. They mean that students can have all the careers information they need, literally at their fingertips.”
The i-Kiosk is situated in the learning centre at the college’s Shiney Row campus.