Students move into £10m UTC Olympic Legacy Park building

First day at the new 10 million UTC Olympic Leagcy Park campus in Sheffield. Lauren Darwin, 16. Photo: Mark Harvey
First day at the new 10 million UTC Olympic Leagcy Park campus in Sheffield. Lauren Darwin, 16. Photo: Mark Harvey
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Students are enjoying the benefits of a £10 million new college building after moving in this week.

Teenagers started courses at the new University Technical College (UTC) Olympic Legacy Park spent their first two weeks in classrooms at the neighbouring Oasis Academy Don Valley while their new home was finished.

India Hancock, 14, and Alex Ibrahim, 15

Photo: Mark Harvey

India Hancock, 14, and Alex Ibrahim, 15 Photo: Mark Harvey

But on Monday 137 students finally moved into the new building in the Olympic Legacy Park, being built on the former Don Valley Stadium site.

The UTC is the second in Sheffield, alongside its sister city centre campus.

Olympic Legacy Park principal Sarah Clark said: “I am thrilled to welcome students to our fantastic new building and want to thank everyone who has supported us.

"The innovative curriculum and facilities have been designed with employers and prepare young people for great careers in the healthcare and sports science, and computing sectors.”

Principal Sarah Clark.

Photo: Mark Harvey

Principal Sarah Clark. Photo: Mark Harvey

The UTC specialises in healthcare and sports science, and computing courses. On their first day, computer students worked on robotics, while sports science students took part in a triathlon challenge in the fitness suite and operated specialist equipment that tests athletes’ reflexes and reaction times.

Meanwhile, healthcare students discovered how to assess vital signs in a session led by staff from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Lauren Darwin, 16, said: “I want to go on to university and train as a paramedic. It’s great to be able to meet and work with employers to understand some of the skills.”

India Hancock, 14, is a national level swimmer who is considering a career in sports coaching. She said: “The UTC facilities are really good and very different to other schools. I like being able to develop practical skills in a subject that relates to a future career.”

Charlotte Timms, 13, and Declan Cullen, 14

Photo: Mark Harvey

Charlotte Timms, 13, and Declan Cullen, 14 Photo: Mark Harvey

And Alex Ibrahim, 15, plays ice hockey and wants to go into medicine. He added: “It’s great to move into the new building. I’ve enjoyed my first day and the employer visits since starting with the UTC.”

The new campus was built by BAM Construction. It includes £600,000 of specialist equipment including a sports science laboratory, a fitness suite with the latest cycling, running, rowing and weights machines, a health and development suite with a flexible hospital ward set-up and area for an ambulance, computer labs including Raspberry Pi and robotics equipment, and a research laboratory for virtual reality technology.

Construction director Jason Pink said: “We’ve used a range of modern methods to make this building happen very quickly and on budget.

"At the same time our team has been local itself, used the services of a range of other local companies, and we’ve helped six young people further their apprenticeships.

"The build has been a very positive experience all round, and this has been based on the close working relationships established here and our early involvement in the scheme. I’m delighted to see young people here so soon after handing over.”

The UTC is sponsored by The Sheffield College, Sheffield Hallam University and Sheffield Chamber of Commerce.

Jason Pepper, chair of the UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park campus steering group and executive director of The Sheffield College said: “This is an exciting milestone for students, employers and the city.

"The Sheffield College has been delighted to lead on this visionary project because we are committed to supporting the regional economy, creating jobs for young people and filling skills gaps for employers. I want to thank everyone who has backed this project for their steadfast commitment and support.”

Clive Betts, Mp for Sheffield South East, said: "It is very encouraging to see the city’s second UTC breathing new life into the area, and providing a legacy for young people and employers, as part of the broader multi-million pound Olympic Legacy Park development.”

And Sheffield Council's cabinet member for children, young people and families Jackie Drayton added: “I am delighted to see students starting at the UTC this September.

"The new campus provides students with the opportunity to study alongside elite athletes, use the cutting-edge facilities for healthcare technologies, sports and sports science as well as extend the range of learning opportunities for young interested in careers in the health sector, medical and sports technologies, or programming and system design.

"These are all growing areas in the global as well as the local economy and the new UTC offers the opportunity for 14 to 19-year-olds to work closely with local employers and universities at the cutting edge of development in these sectors.”

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