Photos and video: £4 million refurbishment unveiled at Petroc

Students cut the reb ribbon at the Liberty Centre. L-R: John Kinnear, Harry Featherstone, Mathew New

Students cut the reb ribbon at the Liberty Centre. L-R: John Kinnear, Harry Featherstone, Mathew Newing, Ashley Chivers, Charlotte Raymont and Joshua Cudmore. - Credit: Archant

Spacious classrooms, new courses in animal managment and the Liberty Centre to helped those with learning disabilities.

The new face of the A Block.

The new face of the A Block. - Credit: Archant

PETROC has today (Weds) unveiled a brand new look to the face of its most prominent building as part of a £4 million make over.

The refurbishment at the Barnstaple campus has included 5,000sq m of classrooms and internal space in the college’s C Block.

There is also a block to house the college’s brand new animal care course, a new roof and extra space in the sports hall and the addition of the Liberty Centre.

“We wanted to look at how we could create an inspiring environment for the community here,” said Neil Hookway, director for resources at Petroc.

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“We’re currently looking to secure further funds for this campus; we’ve got a strong estate strategy and will continue to develop and refurbish the existing buildings.”

Kevin Hazell, head of the school of health, fitness and supported learning, said: “Part of the development is getting those with learning disabilities into employment.

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“Those in the North Devon area who are disabled, only 3.6 per cent are employed.

“That is one of the lowest figures in the country; the average is about 18 per cent.

“We will have a real focus on employment and develop our own partnership with businesses here.”

During a tour of the facility, local dignitaries, new students and staff saw the new spacious classrooms and freshly designed areas of the college.

John Hardy, the programme leader for the new animal care and management unit, said the new course had started this year and had been capped further afield to do a course like this,” he said.

“As well as the rooms here which house rabbits, guinea pigs, rodents and reptiles, we will also be getting a Blue Cross cats re-homing centre.

“The students are also designing an aviary and the winning design will be built next to the building.”

Among those taking a tour of the college was North Devon Councillor Des Brailey and Torridge deputy leader Cllr Roger Johnson.

Cllr Brailey said: “In my view, it is an extraordinary move forward and when you look at the new areas you can see the benefits students will have.

“I think they have achieved a great deal for the £4 million they have spent.”

Cllr Johnson added: “It’s wonderful we’re getting some investment into education.

“It’s really what the young people here deserve and it’s great to see them bringing in different types of training courses.”

PHOTOS: To see more photos from the tour of the campus, click the gallery link on the right of the page.

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