STUDENTS in Sunderland are set to get multi-million-pound facilities after planners gave a college project the green light.
Sunderland College has been given the go-ahead to move forward with £22million plans to transform the Bede campus with state-of-the art sports and visual and performing arts facilities.
The move will create two new academies at Sunderland College.
One will be an Arts Academy for dance, drama, music, media, photography, art and design courses and will include recording studios, a film screening suite, dance, drama and media studios, green rooms, art, textiles and design studios, film processing and dark rooms as well as the latest computer facilities and teaching studios.
The other will be a Sports Academy, which will house top-class facilities such as a sports science laboratory, fitness suites, treatment room and a four court sports hall as well as fully equipped teaching areas fitted out with the latest digital and wireless technology.
Acting principal Nigel Harrett said it is a major investment by the college and reflects its commitment to provide the best quality learning environment possible for its thousands of students.
He said: “This is a very exciting time for Sunderland College. We are all looking forward to watching the new buildings take shape.
“The facilities will be fantastic and existing and future students will reap the benefits of this investment in quality.
“It is never easy to find the money for such ambitious plans, but we are determined to create a college that offers the best possible learning experience to students.
“Having sports and performing arts academies will add to our already impressive offer, which includes a vast range of vocational and A-level courses for full- and part-time learners as well as excellent pass and student satisfaction rates.”
Construction work is due to start on the buildings in February next year and the new academies are expected to open in September 2014.
The college believes the changes are needed to ensure it can continue to offer top quality learning facilities for the young Wearsiders.
It plans to raise the money through a mixture of accumulated reserves, loans, grants and sales of assets.
This will include the sale of its existing campus at Shiney Row, with the provision delivered at this centre being transferred to the new facilities and other campuses across the city.