A new state of the art high tech centre for tomorrow’s students is being considered for Askham Bryan College’s Cumbrian campus at Newton Rigg.
The specialist land-based College is looking at the possibility of creating a purpose built centre and raising the capital finance to achieve this through releasing its campus site for housing and other associated uses.
Acting Chief Executive, Dr Tim Whitaker said: “It is very early days, but this has the potential to be the most exciting chapter in the history of Newton Rigg since it was formed in 1896. Eden District Council, working with One Public Estate, appreciate the importance of the College to the district and the county as a whole, and are supporting us in carrying out a high level feasibility study and viability appraisal which will look at development of the campus.”
“Our vision is to create a new campus on our land close to the existing site which has sustainability and environmentally friendly facilities at its heart. This, coupled with the very latest technology for student learning, would be transformational, enhancing and extending educational opportunities for people in the region and beyond.”
Askham Bryan College has around 5,000 full and part-time students, including apprentices, across sites in the North East, Cumbria, West Yorkshire and its main campus in York. Agriculture and land management are its main focus, offering a real educational breadth with full time courses from foundation learning through to degree level, and part-time short course training for career development or simply personal interest. It acquired Newton Rigg College in 2011 and has restored its farming heritage through investing in its outdated facilities, introducing new courses and increasing student numbers.
Over the last nine years there has been substantial investment in Newton Rigg including the £2.4m dairy unit at the college’s Sewborwens Farm opened in 2014, and a £450,000 sheep husbandry centre at its hill farm which followed in 2017. There has also been significant growth in student numbers which have risen by 20% since Askham Bryan took over. These have increased from 987 to 1,183 for the coming academic year, with subjects ranging from pure agriculture through to horticulture, equine management, gamekeeping and animal management.
Dr Whitaker added: “Many of the existing campus buildings on the site are outdated and costly to maintain. The original farmhouse around which the existing campus was developed is listed (Grade 2) and would look to be maintained, and, if the study proves positive, we would encourage our existing tenants to continue to be part of our new centre.”
‘Providing high quality and inspiring education to the communities and industries we serve is core to our values. Our students leave with life enhancing opportunities adding economic, social and cultural value to the communities in which they live and work,’ added Dr Whitaker.