The fixing of a golden bolt to Sunderland College’s new multi-million pound campus has marked a crucial phase at a city centre development.
A topping out ceremony was held at City Campus to celebrate the completion of steelwork at the site, next to Park Lane Interchange in.
The ceremony involved the bolt being attached to the highest part of the £29million development, which has transformed the city skyline since work began in January by BAM Construction.
Sunderland College principal, Anne Isherwood, led the event.
She said: “This is a landmark stage for the new campus and I am thrilled to share in this momentous occasion.
“City Campus will help to drive forward change and economic growth in Sunderland by introducing thousands of students and a number of commercial facilities to the city centre. We are very proud that the new campus is playing a major role in the regeneration of the area.”
City Campus will be the college’s hub for its extensive range of professional and technical courses and is due to open in September.
The building, spanning 135,000 sq ft, will feature state-of-the-art facilities and industry-standard equipment and will offer more than 150 programmes, including 16-18, adult and higher education provision.
Its will be home to 2,000 learners on construction, advanced manufacturing, engineering, automotive trades, travel and tourism, hair and beauty, and catering and hospitality courses.
The flagship development will also house the college’s commercial facilities including a luxury spa, fine dining restaurant, hair and beauty salons, a travel agency, bakery, and a car repair service.
Anne added: “By this time next year, we will have invested £50million in our facilities. In addition to City Campus, we opened our sports and arts academies at Bede campus last year, and we have made a number of other improvements across our campuses.
“Our priority is to ensure students have access to first rate learning environments and teaching in order to support their development and future careers.
"By doing this, we are providing a highly skilled and motivated workforce that meets the needs of employers in the region.”
Karen Wade, the college’s director of facilities management, said good progress is being made by BAM Construction which is using local suppliers and contractors where possible.
She added: “City Campus will be open in September 2016 and will provide an exceptional learning environment for vocational students, with the general public benefitting from access to the commercial elements of the facility.”
The development is being funded through the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), Sunderland City Council and college reserves, and land has been secured from Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).
Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Paul Watson, said: “Visitors to the city centre will have no doubt noticed the new campus taking shape. The continued development of the city centre is crucial and it is great to see the fantastic progress being made.
“The flagship campus will be a major boost for the city centre, its economy and of course education provision in the city. I look forward to seeing the site develop further in the coming months ready to welcome students next September.”
Ali Johnson, area manager at HCA, added: "This final bolt is really great news for Sunderland. It is great that by working with the college we have found a use for this site which will help ensure that local people have the necessary skills to help them develop their careers."