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Spadework starts on flagship college construction
DIGGERS have moved in to begin work on the new University Technical College due to open in September.
Work started this week at the site of the former Great Western School building off Bristol Street.
They have started to dig the drainage in preparation for turning the building into a state-of-the- art college, which will focus on engineering.
Also on the site is the iconic water tower, which will be fully restored and used as a point of study when the UTC opens.
Paul Holmes, one of the UTC directors said: “It’s great to finally see work begin and the college start to take shape.
“We have been planning this for almost two years now so we are obviously very pleased to have reached this stage.
“There is a lot of work to be done so it will be quite tight, but it will certainly be ready for September.”
The original roof of the GWR building will remain with a two storey building erected inside it.
Another building to house the college’s workshops is due to be built on the site of the adjacent GW1 building.
The government has given more than £9 million towards the construction costs.
Swindon Council is providing £500,000 to pay for certain costs which are not covered by the Government money.
The water tower restoration is not covered by central funding so the council has put forward £200,000 as it is seen as important to the life of the UTC.
Stephen Smith, also a director, said: “The site was originally used for the purpose of education so in many ways it is like returning to the 1850s.
“We have seen the plans of the college on the page for so long it’s good to now have some idea as to how that will look.
“On top of that it’s great to finally have something to show people.”
Since it was announced, demand for places at the college has been high, with already more than 100 families either signing up or registering an interest.
The college, for students aged 14 to 19, is set to open in September with an initial 300 pupils and then 600 the following year.
The curriculum is being developed by the college’s partners, including local employers such as Honda.
Stephen said: “The Swindon UTC is one of the first education establishments of its type in the country.
“What makes it unique is the curriculum is designed by local employers so our pupils will get all the skills they need to go into work or further education.”
Representatives of the college have been touring the region to inform families about the college and are now visiting schools to speak to potential pupils directly.
To find out more information about the college or to register an interest visit www.utcswindon.