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A Brighton college is to spend £80 million in redeveloping its campuses to keep in with Government plans to improve the "FE estate".

City College Brighton and Hove will shortly be proposing a bid to the Learning and Skills Council for capital funding to support its vision for all learning to take place in 21st century buildings.

City College Principal Ann Smith said: "Our vision is to build a state-of-the-art, vocationally focused College that addresses the social, economic and educational needs of this city".

"We want to encourage and support our students to fulfil their potential and learn in an inspirational, appropriate and efficient environment. This is our opportunity to give this city the education facilities it deserves".

Government expenditure on capital projects in FE colleges and school sixth forms will increase from £500 million to £750 million annually by 2011.

The Government and Learning Skills Council (LSC) have revealed they are fully devoted to transforming the Further Education estate nationwide.

City College Chairman Martin Perry said: "The commitment by government creates a really exciting, once-in-a-generation opportunity to create facilities for further education in the city of which we can all rightly feel very proud".

He added: "It positions the College perfectly to play its important part in the provision of a complete educational pathway in the City from school age to adult education, specialising in vocational training and creating opportunities for all including "Hard to Reach" groups or people who want a second chance".

The College has already uncovered its foresight for a new further education college to meet the needs of the modern day. At present, there are five college sites within the city, which are thought to be expensive to maintain and inadequate for educational purposes. However, the new £80 million development is to see the college merge over three main sites.

This involves a complete restoration of the Pelham Street City Centre Campus, a new Educational Centre at the new Community Stadium at Falmer, which will include a 14-16 Centre with work based opportunities, and the redevelopment of Wilson Avenue, which will provide a Vocational Skills and Craft Training Campus.

The LSC is also teaming up with the Local Authority (Children and Young Peoples Trust) to look at further opportunities to develop additional Skills Centres within Brighton and Hove.

Alongside architects, the College has developed preliminary designs that demonstrate high-tech specialist training facilities from real-life training for students and a specialist Art and Media Centre, to a City Business Skills Training Centre and an Adult and Community Learning Centre.

Honor Whiteman.

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