Forth Valley College welcomes students to new Falkirk campus
Today’s students and those studying for years to come now have a new further education college with state-of-the-art facilities in which to train the workforce of the future.
Forth Valley College’s new £78 million Falkirk campus opened its doors for the first time on Monday, marking a historic moment for the local area.
For over half a century students had been trained and equipped with the knowledge to help them forge future careers at the Grangemouth Road buildings.
Now, 22 months after construction work began, they have moved across the road to the site where the Middlefield Buildings used to be.
Designed by architects Reiach and Hall and constructed by Balfour Beatty, the unique facilities include, world class laboratories, a process training rig, transmission training centre, distillation plant, virtual control room, mini-rig, biotechnology centre, sports centre and front of house training salons for hairdressing and beauty.
The new campus, which will serve as the college’s headquarters, completes Forth Valley’s ambitious £128 million estates programme which saw their Alloa campus built at a cost of £21 million open in 2011 and their Stirling campus, costing £29 million, open a year later.
Dr Ken Thomson, Forth Valley College principal, said: “Seeing our students walk through the doors of our new Falkirk Campus was an exhilarating and proud experience. It was great to welcome them and I am excited to see everyone settle in to this excellent new learning environment.
“Our new HQ – which will focus heavily on training facilities designed for science and technology, engineering, sport and healthcare – will enhance further education for the people of Falkirk and beyond for years to come.
“We can’t thank architects Reiach and Hall and Balfour Beatty enough for designing and constructing our new building and helping us to realise our vision, and I personally would like to thank everyone who has worked on the project for guiding it to completion.”
The college principal added they were throwing open the doors to the new campus on Thursday, January 23 when they hoped as many people as possible would come along to see the community facility.
He added: “We are really proud of the new campus and we want the people of Falkirk to be proud of it too.”
The Scottish Government’s investment of £65 million in the construction of the new campus, makes the campus one of the largest publicly funded building projects in Scotland.
Now FVC students are taking their seats in new classrooms to train to become the workforce of the future. The 20,709 square metre facility will host 450 members of staff and cater for 2000 full-time students.
Further Education Minister Richard Lochhead said: “Forth Valley College’s new Falkirk campus is a first-class facility which offers students access to a wide variety of state-of-the-art classrooms and facilities tailored to specific subjects, allowing a progressive approach to learning and teaching.
“It will support future economic development across the wider community, providing essential workforce skills and training and new employment opportunities. The hub will also offer cultural and social benefits to the local area, and I am pleased the Scottish Government was able to support its development.”
Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, leader of Falkirk Council, said: “I am delighted that the new Forth Valley College campus in Falkirk is open. It has been a mammoth undertaking and Falkirk will now benefit from a state-of-the-art learning environment.
“We are looking forward to building on our already excellent relationships with Forth Valley College and developing even more innovative learning opportunities for our children and young people in partnership with them.”
Ross Martin, chairperson of FVC’s board of management, said: “The opening of our new Falkirk campus – our HQ – is a major milestone for tertiary education in and around the Forth Valley, offering state-of-the-art facilities in a spectacular setting.
“Although the scale of our ambition is clearly visible from the outside, the quality of provision and the talent we are nurturing can only properly be seen in the internal reflections of this magnificently designed learning environment.”
What the students think
Mariola Skorzenc (23), a City and Guilds Hairdressing student from Camelon, said: “I like the new Falkirk Campus and am very excited about getting started. It’s a great environment for learning.”
Ashley Stewart (34), a Pathway to Fitness student from Shieldhill, said: “It is way better than what we had across the road in the old building and I am looking forward to learning here. I am really impressed, especially with the gym and sports area, which is really going to enhance my learning.”
Frazer Campbell (20) from Airth, a WGM Mechanical Engineering Modern Apprentice, said: “It is really nice and modern and I am very impressed with it. The open concept is great and the breakout areas are really good. I am going to enjoy studying here.”
David Connell (31) from Falkirk, a BSc Applied Biological Sciences student, said: “The new Falkirk campus looks absolutely cracking and is a very modern building. About ten years ago I attended the old Falkirk Campus and was actually student president for a while.
“I always thought that Falkirk deserved a great college too and to be fair this is really amazing and fit for the 21st century.”