Sheffield College extension plans set for go-ahead

An artist's impression of the new extension at Hillsborough College
An artist's impression of the new extension at Hillsborough College
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A multi-million pound plan to extend two Sheffield College campuses – which will lead to another centre closing – is to be agreed.

Proposals to make more space at Hillsborough College and create an engineering centre at Olive Grove Road in Heeley are recommended for approval by city planners next week.

The £15.6 million upgrade will provide better facilities and new courses in robotics, motorsport, digital arts and stage management.

But it also means that the college’s Norton College campus will close in summer 2015.

At Hillsborough, the plans include a theatre, drama and dance studios as well as rehearsal rooms with the aim of making young people in Sheffield employable in the performing arts industries.

The 10-year-old building off Penistone Road will cater for ‘double’ the amount of students and staff if the work is agreed, according to planning reports.

The number of parking spaces will not be increased but cycle facilities are to double, and the college is willing to contribute £20,000 towards a new green route.

Officers said in their report that the revamp, and closure of other sites would ‘allow for more efficient use of resources and enhanced learning experience through the replacement of outdated facilities’.

The Olive Grove centre will have a four-storey teaching block with an internal atrium link to existing workshops.

Reports said the extra height would ‘result in making the site more prominent in the local area’ and ‘assist in defining a local area that, at present, lacks local distinction’.

A golden sail and overhanging element will be included at the entrance of the building.

Although the amount of parking provided for 440 students and 70 teachers will remain the same, it is planned to increase the amount of cycle spaces from 16 to 46.

In recommending the plan for approval, officers said: “Overall the development will present an excellent and welcome addition to the local street scene, enhancing the college’s educational offer within the city.”

The Norton campus was taken over by the college in 1992 and currently caters for around 1,000 students.

Staff, students and courses will transfer from the centre to campuses at either Hillsborough, or Peaks in the south east of the city, from September 2015.

Two-thirds of the funding for the refurbishment will come from the national Skills Funding Agency.

The college is to pay the remaining £5.6 million cost of the works.