THE opening of the new £21m Wiltshire College campus in Chippenham will bring long-term economic benefits to the area according to the college’s Principal.

The new state-of-the-art building, built adjacent to the former campus on Cocklebury Road, was opened to pupils on Monday morning (Nov 9).

Principal Amanda Burnside, Chair of Governors Helen Birchenough, Vice Principals’ Iain Hatt, Adrian Ford and John Adams, and Chippenham staff and students gathered for a celebratory photograph at 9.30am before Student Union President Ben Saint proudly cut the ribbon to declare it open.

“With the facilities we have now and the improved reputation, we are starting to see real growth in student numbers, particularly working with local employers to grow apprenticeships and deliver high level skills,” said Mrs Burnside.

“The college is perfectly positioned to deliver the skills that are needed in these jobs.

“This college is linked to economic growth in Wiltshire, it can deliver the local economic priorities and it will keep business in the region and as we grow attract business to the region.”

Work began on the new 9,200sq metre building campus in July last year following the demolition of part of the old campus.

The remaining campus will be demolished over the coming months to make way for extra car parking while the Sadlers Mead area of the former campus is for sale.

SU President Ben, 20, of Chippenham, a second year Level 3 Games Development student, said: “It was a great honour to cut the ribbon this morning to declare the new campus open.

“I absolutely love the new building and you can tell how much thought has gone into every aspect. It isn’t just a move to a new building, everything has been completely upgraded.

“The motor vehicle workshops and woodwork as well as the hair and beauty salons are all really quite special.”

The new Chippenham campus has the latest equipment and industry standard workshops for technical and professional study in construction, engineering, motor vehicle, music, media, art, hair and beauty and IT.

The building, which is made up of more than 200,000 bricks and 50 tonnes of steel, boasts 67 teaching spaces to suit the diverse curriculum, has low or zero carbon technology, 350m2 of solar panels and cooling and heating takes place via a 150kw ground source heat pump.

Helen Birchenough, chair of governors, said: “It’s very exciting for our students, it’s a very proud day.

“Obviously teaching is everything but in a really fantastic state of the art building with the right resources in, it is transforming. It will transform the opportunities for the students.”