Leeds City College opens doors to new £60m campus
Leeds City College is celebrating in style with the opening of its brand-new £60m Quarry Hill Campus, and the arrival of approximately 3,000 students to the state-of-the-art facility.
The impressive nine-story complex, which was nearly two years in construction and sits at the heart of the Cultural Quarter, is the new home for the college’s School of Creative Arts and School of Social Science. These departments are two of the institution’s biggest faculties – bigger than some entire colleges. Both departments are set to support key industries in the Leeds City Region – digital and healthcare, with space also provided for Leeds College of Music and Higher Education courses.
A week-long programme of activities will mark the unveiling of the new facilities, timed to coincide with the college’s bicentenary. These milestone events include staging an ambitious welcome reception involving 200 students and staff in brightly coloured clothing to represent the diverse 200-year history of the organisation (which can trace its roots back to the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, founded in 1819) and the CEO of Luminate Education Group, Colin Booth, abseiling down the new building!
Quarry Hill Campus will play a vital role in addressing regional skills gaps with courses including Visual & Digital Arts, Games Design, Media, Music and Performance Production, Childhood and Education, Health Science and Social Care, and Public Services.
Facilities on site include TV and media suites, photography and dance studios, a costume workshop, newsroom and gallery spaces, science labs, outdoor working spaces, lecture theatres, a complimentary therapy room and 200-seat theatre complete with backstage technical equipment.
The Quarry Hill Campus development received £33.4m funding from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) delivered by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority through the Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1 billion-plus package of Government investment to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region.
Colin Booth, CEO and Principal of Luminate Education Group, said: “We are delighted to officially open our Quarry Hill Campus, which is the result of years of hard work by our staff and partners. We’ve traced the formative years of our organisation back to 1819, so this year is of enormous historical importance to us, as our bicentenary. As such, we’re excited to have arranged a packed week of activity on site to mark the college’s accomplishments, past, present and future.
“This new building offers a first-class educational experience and demonstrates our commitment to offering innovative learning environments and creative vocational programmes. Healthcare, social care, childcare, and digital are some of the biggest local employment sectors, so we are proud to be playing our part in the city region and making a positive difference to the lives of our students.”
Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “The new state-of-the-art Quarry Hill campus is the largest investment from a total pot of almost £80 million from our Growth Deal funding which we allocated to improving further and higher educational facilities throughout the Leeds City Region.
“Our £33.4 million investment in Leeds City College will play a key role in developing a talented workforce that will enable our economy to thrive, particularly in digital industries, which are creating thousands of jobs in our region every year and developing our national and international profile as a powerhouse of creativity and innovation.”
The purpose-built facility boasts the highest standards of environmental performance and has a BREEAM Excellent rating. It utilises green ‘living’ walls and solar units to harvest energy, as well as eight different types of glass to naturally moderate temperature inside.
Designed by Ellis Williams Architects and built by Wates Construction North East & Yorkshire, Quarry Hill Campus is one of the first projects delivered as part of a wider £300m redevelopment of Quarry Hill, with investment in creative, cultural, academic, residential and commercial premises.
The new college building sits in the Cultural Quarter of Leeds alongside the BBC, Leeds College of Music (which is also part of the Luminate Education Group), Northern Ballet, and Leeds Playhouse, currently undergoing redevelopment. Between the sites, a shared space is in the process of being created, which will open up access to buildings and amenities.