The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council and the President of Causeway Coast Chamber of Commerce were among local stakeholders invited to view progress on the construction of Northern Regional College’s new Coleraine campus. Fully funded by the Department for the Economy, the overall cost of the new campus at Union Street is £40 million, forming part of a £85 million capital investment programme to provide new campuses for the College in Coleraine and Ballymena. Heron Bros is the main contractor for both projects.
Work is progressing well at the Union Street site: the former campus buildings have been demolished; piling and substructures completed; and steelwork erection, which only started at the beginning of February, is now well underway. Work to develop a carpark at the College’s former playing fields at Brook Street has progressed ahead of schedule.
The new Coleraine campus will be ready for occupation during the 2023/24 academic year. The College has relocated temporarily to the former St Joseph’s College in Beresford Avenue and will remain there until the new campus is ready.
Mel Higgins, Principal and Chief Executive of Northern Regional College, commented: “We were delighted to welcome the Mayor and other stakeholders to Union Street so they could see for themselves the significant progress we have made with the project, thanks to the collective efforts of Heron Bros., our dedicated team within the College and the Department for the Economy.
“Now that the steel structures are going up, there is growing excitement locally in anticipation of the wide-ranging benefits the new campus will deliver: staff and students will benefit from the modern and inspiring learning environment that will be fitted out with the latest technologies and top-of-the-range facilities.”
He continued: “We are creating a world-class learning environment to facilitate the delivery of the training, skills and transformational education needed to compete in today’s competitive employment market. The College will continue to work with employers locally to identify and fill any skills gaps so we can help drive economic growth.”
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons said: “This £40million project, fully funded by my Department, is part of a wider £85million investment in Northern Regional College including the redevelopment of its Ballymena campus.
“The delivery of these state of the art campuses will help to achieve the aims of my Department’s 10X Economic Vision and, building on Northern Ireland’s successes on the global stage, will ensure that our FE colleges are at the forefront of the drive to meet the evolving and wide ranging demands of a modern economy.”
It is anticipated that over 100 new construction jobs will be created and a further 300 sustained while the campus is being built. In addition to the full-time jobs, the project will generate over 1,040 weeks of employment and training will be provided through traineeships, apprenticeships and Higher Level Apprenticeships (HLAs) across a range of construction-related trades.
The Principal acknowledged that residents and businesses in the neighbourhood of the new campus had been very supportive of the development.
“We are extremely grateful to them for their support and co-operation during the demolition and construction phases of the development. Their warm feedback to date has been a great source of encouragement for everyone involved with the project.”
Speaking after his visit, the Mayor, Councillor Richard Holmes commended the College and Heron Bros for making such significant progress at the Union Street site. He said: “With a construction value of almost £29 million, this is one of the largest building projects in the town for many years and it is a welcome boost for the local construction sector and associated supply chain.
“The town centre location of the College is in keeping with the strong community ethos of the Council, the new campus will also provide many opportunities for people living and working in the wider Causeway Coast & Glens area.”