From education to employment

£15 million investment in Barnsley College campus to create prestigious Institute of Technology

  • Refurbished Barnsley College (@barnsleycollege) University Centre to become leading light in South Yorkshire for higher level technical education.
  • Former Mining and Technical College to become state-of-the-art technology hub, with full upgrade of sustainable technologies throughout.
  • Contractors GF Tomlinson to start construction works on 92-year-old building in May.

A multi-million-pound refurbishment project will transform a historic Barnsley College building into an exceptional centre of innovation and world-class technical education for South Yorkshire.

The South Yorkshire Institute of Technology (IoT) (SYIoT), one of 21 IoTs nationally, will see one of its key facilities fully renovated to house the SYIoT in the College’s University Centre on Church Street in Barnsley town centre.

In a wonderful story spanning 92 years, the landmark art deco building – formerly Barnsley Mining and Technical College – will be sensitively transformed into a modern, technology-rich IoT to retain and enhance the classic architecture inside and out complemented with the latest innovations in construction and technology.

Funding for the project is a combination of Department for Education (DfE) regional investment, and College capital funds. The College was also successful with a Salix decarbonisation capital bid for sustainability upgrades throughout the building – which will become one of its most sustainable campuses once works are complete. These extensive sustainability measures will ensure the building is developed in line with Barnsley Council’s decarbonisation plans for Zero 45.

Barnsley College Principal and Chief Executive Officer David Akeroyd said: “This is a real landmark moment for higher-level education in Barnsley and the wider region, and we’re pleased to get contracts signed and now be able to deliver on our vision.

“The building work is set to start in earnest in May. What’s particularly important to us is that we retain our original concept of completely transforming the inside of the building into a future-focused learning environment for our Level 4 and Level 5 technical provision.

“This is an exciting time for the College and all our partners involved in the South Yorkshire IoT – as we look ahead to a future in which our hard work has led to increased opportunities for retraining and upskilling, more accessible and higher-quality jobs, and a productive workforce who are skilled in the right areas.

“It’s particularly special for us that this important IoT site will be right here in the centre of Barnsley. This is really strong proof that our College continues to go from strength to strength as an educational standard-bearer for the region.”

Originally the Barnsley Mining and Technical College, the Church Street building cost a total of £110,012 to build and furnish in 1932. It has had various uses but has maintained an educational focus throughout its lifespan – coming full circle as the new building will house higher level technical qualifications in engineering, construction and IT/digital subjects. Modern technology in a building designed for the technology of 1932.

The heart of the project is the new atrium, and a combination of learning resource and study zones set over three new mezzanine floors with a new glazed roof above and a modern café and breakout area at ground floor level.

GF Tomlinson have officially been appointed as the main contractor for the project and construction will commence in May. The College is currently carrying out preparation works ahead of the firm’s arrival on site. Consultants AECOM have been retained as a key partner to support the College’s Major Projects Team as lead Technical Advisers through the construction phase.

Barnsley College previously worked with GF Tomlinson in 2012 on its Think Low Carbon Centre, at the College’s Honeywell campus – an award-winning Sustainable Centre of Excellence that similarly features a blend of cutting-edge technology and forward-thinking strategy in its design.

The College plans to give the public and local residents various opportunities to see and discuss the plans over the coming months, while GF Tomlinson will keep neighbouring businesses fully informed as to the progress of the works.

Adrian Grocock, Managing Director at GF Tomlinson, added: “We are delighted to be appointed as the main contractor on the South Yorkshire Institute of Technology (IoT) (SYIoT).

“This state-of-the-art facility will provide students at Barnsley College with a first-class, modern learning environment, whilst breathing new life into a well-known historical building in the heart of the town.

“Through our collaboration with the Client team, we look forward to turning Barnsley College’s vision into reality, transforming the site into one of their most sustainable campuses and delivering a world class technical education centre the whole region can be proud of.”

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