A new Falkirk campus for Forth Valley College will be a boost for students, staff and the wider community, according to the principal.
Dr Ken Thomson was expressing his delight as the green light was given for the ambitious project.
He said it was the final piece in the college’s estate development with new buildings already open in Stirling and Alloa.
News of the cash boost for the project came on October 9 when John Swinney, Finance Cabinet Secretary, revealed in the Scottish Parliament that Forth Valley and Fife would share a £140 million NPD (Not for Profit Distribution) investment to develop new college campuses.
College bosses will now work in partnership with the Scottish Futures Trust and Scottish Funding Council on taking it forward.
Plans for the new Falkirk campus have been in the pipeline for over 12 months and earlier this year – as it celebrated its 50th anniversary – the Middlefield site was cleared with all staff and students now in the main Weir building.
Dr Thomson revealed demolition of the Middlefield building is scheduled to begin next month and be complete by March 2015.
He said: “We intend to take our outline business case to the board in December and are in a very strong position to move forward. Building work should take between 18 and 24 months and, if construction starts in 2017 as anticipated, we would hope to have a completion date of the end of 2018.
“We intend to have an iconic facility which we are sure will impress everyone as they enter Falkirk – they will see The Helix, Falkirk Stadium and then Forth Valley College, all clear indicators of the investment in this area.”
The principal said it would cater for around 2000 full-time students and 300 staff, but would also offer part-time courses, evening classes and would be open to the public, including its sporting and conference facilities.
He added: “Falkirk will continue to be our centre of excellence for science and technology, but will offer foundation courses in a wide variety of subjects. We will be consulting with partners, employers and the local community on what we can provide to benefit them.”