A multi million pound plan which will see a major transformation for York based Askham Bryan College has been unveiled.
Ian Harmer Deputy Principal, Finance and Resources, outlined the vision which would see a state of the art purpose-built animal management centre to replace the existing centre, new residential facilities for staff and students, a glazed quadrangle area at the heart of the campus, plus improvements to the college farm. The equine facilities would double in size, with the creation of an international standard centre.
The estimated value of the scheme is around £34m and the work would be undertaken in three phases. The plans have now been submitted to York City Council for consideration. David Spencer of DSP Architects of York and Jennifer Hubbard, Town Planning Consultant, are advising the College on what would be the biggest change to the campus in its history.
Askham Bryan College provides education for full and part time students through to honours degree level and specialises in courses in agriculture and land management.
Commenting Mr Harmer said: “Askham Bryan College has an enviable reputation for providing first class education for young people across the north of England and beyond. Our vision will enable us to offer this to far more students – we envisage that our numbers will increase substantially, and given that the plans include new student accommodation, we would also expect students from across a broader geographic area .”
It is estimated numbers will increase at the York campus from the current figure of 2,939 students studying on full and part time courses, to around 4,500 in the academic year 2017/18. Askham Bryan has further centres across the north of England and it is anticipated that the figure would increase overall to around 6,000 students in 2017/18.
Mr Harmer added: “Our aim is to improve and enhance the education for our students, providing work ready individuals who are very employable. Some 90% of our students go on to find work on leaving us and creating employable young people is very much our focus.”
If planning permission is granted, the College intends to begin by building the animal management centre, followed by a new equine centre with a polo field, new teaching areas, plus improvements to the farm buildings.
The animal management centre is expected to open in September 2014 and it is anticipated that it will be available to the public to visit out of term time. Said Mr Harmer: “I believe we are unique.I am unaware of any other college in the UK which would be able to offer students both the theoretical skills and the chance to study relatively exotic animals in a natural setting.” The college’s existing centre already houses animals such as meerkats, mongoose and possum and it is hoped in time to add others including zebra and tapirs to the list.
The final phase would be the new student accommodation, a teaching block and engineering workshop. The residential accommodation would enable numbers to increase from 300 to 600 students resident on site.
In recent years the College has grown in the courses and facilities it offers and in new centres for education. In July 2011 it took over Cumbria based Newton Rigg College, last year 300 acres of farmland were purchased adjoining the York campus and in June a 5,000 acre Cumbrian grouse moor was acquired which is already being used as a teaching resource for students.
As well as Newton Rigg, Askham Bryan has centres at Newcastle, Guisborough, Hexham, Scarborough, Bradford, Harrogate, Wakefield and Thirsk.
The full and part time further and higher education courses include agriculture, horticulture, forestry and arboriculture, engineering, countryside management, sport, engineering, equine and animal management. It also has one of the highest numbers of apprentices studying on its workbased learning courses.
Photo shows the architect’s drawing of the proposed new Animal Management Centre for Askham Bryan College.