Fond farewell to much-loved Sheffield college campus

Norton College which is closing and the courses are relocating to other Sheffield College campuses. Picture: Andrew Roe
Norton College which is closing and the courses are relocating to other Sheffield College campuses. Picture: Andrew Roe
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The once bustling corridors are empty, the busy classrooms piled high with boxes and the noisy canteen deserted.

The Norton campus in Sheffield is a far cry from how tens of thousands of students will remember it.

Dan Bell packs the last boxes in his department at Norton College which is closing and the courses are relocating to other Sheffield College campuses. Picture: Andrew Roe

Dan Bell packs the last boxes in his department at Norton College which is closing and the courses are relocating to other Sheffield College campuses. Picture: Andrew Roe

The campus, on Dyche Lane, is closing its doors forever this summer as part of a £15.6 million upgrade of facilities at The Sheffield College.

The boxes, desks and equipment will be moved into a new £8.8m Sheffield College Centre for Creative Industries, due to open at Hillsborough campus in September.

But despite the prospect of moving into a brand new building with digital, media, graphic design, journalism, music, performing arts and photography facilities, teachers are still sad at the thought of moving.

Emotions are mixed to say the least as they pack up their dated classrooms and offices.

An empty classroom at Norton College which is closing and the courses are relocating to other Sheffield College campuses. Picture: Andrew Roe

An empty classroom at Norton College which is closing and the courses are relocating to other Sheffield College campuses. Picture: Andrew Roe

Norton is the oldest of the college’s sites, with some parts dating back to the 1950s, and the buildings are too costly to maintain. It would also be too expensive to rebuild on the existing site, according to college leaders.

Jo Beadle, course leader for level three drama and degree, has worked there since The Sheffield College was founded in 1989 from an amalgamation of community colleges.

She has been involved in putting on more than 100 productions and has helped to shape the future of thousands of students.

Jo said: “The first year when we were talking about moving, it didn’t really register that we were moving.

The LRC at Norton College which is closing and the courses are relocating to other Sheffield College campuses. Picture: Andrew Roe

The LRC at Norton College which is closing and the courses are relocating to other Sheffield College campuses. Picture: Andrew Roe

“The past year has been a bit sad to realise that this is the last time we will be doing this and the last time we will be doing that.

“From my own point of view it has been a good year to work with. I have had groups of students who are exceptionally good, so I had almost forgotten that we were moving until they left, so it has only been the last couple of weeks that it has hit me.

“A lot of students have great fondness for the Norton site. We have had a lot of ex-students who have come in and post on Facebook and other social media about how sad they are.

“The ones who are moving with us, what we have done is show them the plans and as many photographs as we can of the early stages and told them that they are getting the best facilities and they are very excited. Excitement has now replaced sadness.”

Dan Bell packs the last boxes in his department at Norton College which is closing and the courses are relocating to other Sheffield College campuses. Picture: Andrew Roe

Dan Bell packs the last boxes in his department at Norton College which is closing and the courses are relocating to other Sheffield College campuses. Picture: Andrew Roe

Jo has spent the last few weeks sorting through more than 20 years worth of props, furniture and costumes – deciding on what should be taken.

“We have not only got memories but in my office we have everything I have collected over that time and sorting out what I can and can’t take has been awful,” she said.

“We’ve been sorting through things saying: keeping, slinging, keeping, slinging.

“We keep coming across things that we’ve not seen for ages, and then think ‘should we keep this, might it come in useful one day?’.”

Matthew Neale, head of learning for media and performing arts, studied at Norton as a student – and never thought he would return as a teacher.

He said: “It has been a mixture of emotions. We have all loved teaching here. Norton has got a very different feel.

Photographic equipment and books at Norton College which is closing and the courses are relocating to other Sheffield College campuses. Picture: Andrew Roe

Photographic equipment and books at Norton College which is closing and the courses are relocating to other Sheffield College campuses. Picture: Andrew Roe

“I also came here as a students and never expected to be coming back as a teacher.

“I was a student in the first year Norton opened, in art and design, so I have got quite a history with the place.”

Plans over the future of the campus were first unveiled in 2013 as part of a multi-million pound upgrade, which also includes a £6.8m new building, The Sheffield College for Technology, Engineering and Design on Olive Grove Road, in Lowfield.

Matthew said despite everyone knowing that the move was happening, it is still a strange time.

He said: “I have very mixed emotions. We are looking forward to moving.

“We have known it is happening for such a long time that it is strange that it has finally come along. Everybody has been so involved in the design and that has been the initial part of it.

“The new building isn’t just a box, an addition to a building, it’s professionally designed as a centre for creative industries. It has got all the key elements there, which has softened the blow of leaving Norton.”

Around 235 students, who are either part way through current courses or progressing to the next level, and 200 staff will move campuses.

Matthew added: “It’s sad that there are some students who started courses at Norton and grew to really like it, because we are in quite a privileged location in terms of surroundings, and won’t get to finish here, but when they get into the new building they will probably forget about it quite soon.”

Nicky Wharton goes through the last boxes in her department at Norton College which is closing and the courses are relocating to other Sheffield College campuses. Picture: Andrew Roe

Nicky Wharton goes through the last boxes in her department at Norton College which is closing and the courses are relocating to other Sheffield College campuses. Picture: Andrew Roe

Boxes are packed at Norton College which is closing and the courses are relocating to other Sheffield College campuses. Picture: Andrew Roe

Boxes are packed at Norton College which is closing and the courses are relocating to other Sheffield College campuses. Picture: Andrew Roe

Norton College which is closing and the courses are relocating to other Sheffield College campuses. Picture: Andrew Roe

Norton College which is closing and the courses are relocating to other Sheffield College campuses. Picture: Andrew Roe