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First turf cut as work starts on college

PUBLISHED: 14:47 28 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:29 06 July 2010

WORK on Lowestoft's new £23m sixth form college was officially started this week.

Suffolk County Council's director of children and young people, Simon White, took the controls of a mechanical digger to perform the turf cutting ceremony, accompanied by youngsters from the town's high schools.

WORK on Lowestoft's new £23m sixth form college was officially started this week.

Suffolk County Council's director of children and young people, Simon White, took the controls of a mechanical digger to perform the turf cutting ceremony, accompanied by youngsters from the town's high schools.

The purpose-built centre will house 950 students when it opens it doors in September next year.

It is being built close to the existing Lowestoft College and the Water Lane leisure centre.

Mr White said the partnership between the college and the new sixth form centre was an important part of the project.

“This is a very exciting day for Lowestoft,” he said.

“The new sixth form centre will help transform the education for our post 16 students in the area. The partnership working with Lowestoft College is vital and having both facilities on the same campus site is a tremendous advantage.”

Despite prompting protests when its plans were first announced and more recently drawing criticism from teaching unions, Mr White said he was “extremely encouraged” by the support the county council had received from schools and parents as education in the Lowestoft area changes from a three-tier to a two-tier system.

“We want to give young people in Lowestoft the best education possible and with a two-tier system and a new purpose-built sixth form centre it will give everyone the opportunity of reaching their full potential,” he said.

Those attending the turf cutting ceremony included representatives of the town's schools, Lowestoft College, and the wide group of people who have been working to bring the complex from the drawing board to reality.

Caroline Shepherdson, project manager for Lowestoft Sixth Form College, said: “So many people have worked so hard to make this dream of a new sixth form centre in Lowestoft come true. It will prove a huge benefit to Lowestoft in so many ways.”

The sixth form college will feature an open internal atrium with open plan study space and a grass squad outside. There will be specialist dance and drama studios, a music recording studio and science laboratories.

However, work on the college's new £1.5m sports facilities at Barnard's Meadow which include a large all weather pitch, changing rooms and a clubroom, is almost complete and due to be opened next month.

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