Blackpool and The Fylde College's £52.5m refurbishment

Blackpool and The Fylde College
Image caption Blackpool and The Fylde College's Bispham site is getting a £3.5m facelift

Blackpool and The Fylde College is bouncing back from losing out on funding for a £100m town centre campus, according to the college's principal.

The college missed out on a new Blackpool campus when the Learning Skills Council (LSC) ran out of money.

Pauline Waterhouse OBE said the college is moving forward with a "more modest" £52.5m 10-year refurbishment of the college's three main sites.

Work is already under way on stage one, a £3.5m facelift of the Bispham site.

The college was going to sell the Bispham building and move to the new site in Blackpool between Rigby Road and Central Drive.

The Mecca buildings, a once famous Northern Soul venue, were demolished in June 2009 to make way for the campus with classes scheduled to start in September 2012.

However, the Learning Skills Council (LSC) was unable to honour funding for the project so the college is now concentrating on refurbishing the Fleetwood Nautical, University Centre and Ansdell campuses.

Scaled back options

Ms Waterhouse said: "The LSC's capital funding crisis left us, along with 143 other colleges across the country, without the money to go ahead.

"As a result, the college reviewed a number of options which resulted in alternative, scaled back options for modernisation and refurbishment."

She said this includes "a combination of refurbishment, upgrading of existing buildings and selective new build".

"When the work is completed, the building will supersede current building regulations and the life expectancy of the structure will be increased by up to 40 years," added Ms Waterhouse.

The project is part funded by a grant from the Skills Funding Agency which replaced the LSC.

The first phase of building work is on the Cleveleys building at the Bispham site on Ashfield Road, due to be finished for the start of the 2011-12 academic year, and the Fleetwood Nautical Campus.

Phase two, scheduled for 2014-15, will see the Thornton, Elswick and Garstang buildings at Bispham undergo improvements.

The third and fourth stage will include the creation of a new technology building at Bispham and arts building at the Park Road building.

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