THE boss of a Hartlepool college has exclusively revealed details of an exciting £9.3m investment which will see an increase of university-level students moving in to Hartlepool to study degree courses.
Major changes are on the way for Cleveland College of Art & Design’s Hartlepool campus, as part of plans to bring in more students from all over the country.
The college was first set up in 1874 and its high-profile former students include film director Sir Ridley Scott.
But now comes an ambitious new stage in its history since the college has teamed up with the Arts University Bournemouth, its validating partner since 2012.
The proposals will be implemented using an £8.3m grant which, with the backing of Tees Valley Unlimited and Hartlepool Borough Council has passed the first stage of approval. The college will provide at least another £1m. Talks are under way on the final stages of the investment.
The proposals include:
•The main college site in Church Square, built in the late 1960s, will be demolished and the college will create at least 45,000 sq ft of purpose-built space to replace it in the vicinity.
The college is also looking to develop more institution-backed accommodation for first year students.
A 56-room facility has already been built on the corner of Tower Street and Surtees Street which will be owned and managed by Housing Hartlepool and was built by Gus Robinson Developments; and a 25-bed student accommodation facility is being set up in refurbished premises in Lime Crescent to cater with the huge demand for places at the growing art school.
• Extra staff will be recruited to cater for the expected increase in student numbers.
• The college hopes that local contractors will be tendering for the construction contract if successful, helping to secure local jobs.
The ambitious future is already taking shape. The college celebrated its first students’ degree graduation ceremony in July this year, which was held in Christ Church.
At its Hartlepool campus, the college offers mainly BA (Hons) art degrees, covering such subjects as varied as production design for stage and screen and photography, all validated by the Arts University Bournemouth.
But that’s just the start and the college hopes to gain approval to grant its own degrees by the end of the decade
While the exciting changes will definitely happen, the finer detail of the capital investment is still in the early stage.
College principal Martin Raby said the plans fitted in with Hartlepool Borough Council’s exciting Vision proposals. One of its objectives is to turn the Church Street area into an innovation and skills quarter.
Mr Raby said the college’s aims would “significantly assist” the council in its Vision project.
He added: “We are in the early days of a long-term expansion and that process will take five to ten years.
“We need to demonstrate the appeal of our offer to students. Going forward, we are looking to expand our student numbers by expanding the curriculum.
“The staff are very encouraged by the prospect of the college moving on made possible as a result of regulatory changes.
“We have 530 students at the moment in higher education and we expect to see an expansion in Hartlepool. We want to see a significant expansion in student numbers and that won’t happen overnight.”
As part of the college’s plans for progression there are plans for staff to undertake research and scholarly activities relating to Hartlepool’s maritime history and also to open up the campus on a weekend to offer Saturday classes to those aged between 12 and 16.