Bedford College’s new look riverside campus was officially opened last week (30 November) marking the completion of the first Bedford Town Deal project.
The £12.6m project has seen a significant redesign of the 1959 building to create a centre for Health Sciences and Digital Skills and 250 more spaces for students.
The refurbishment of the existing tower’s 5,000 square metres is also designed to support the Colleg’s net zero commitments and has received an EPC rating of B thanks to “cutting-edge” carbon reduction technologies.
These include heat pumps for a river water heating and cooling system, ultra-efficient mechanical heating and ventilation, and high-grade thermal insulation, windows and cladding.
New Chief Executive of The Bedford College Group Yiannis Koursis said: “I’m delighted that these redevelopments have ensured that the centre now has an EPC rating of B and demonstrates cutting-edge carbon reduction technologies.
“Extensive work has been carried out to modernise our facilities, so we now offer high-quality teaching and learning spaces equipped with the latest technologies, helping an additional 250 students achieve their ambitions through to University and employment.
“In Bedford, we sit within the heart of the Oxford to Cambridge Arc and a short distance to London. We are ideally placed to see our students progress, with the skills that they have learnt here, to flourish in world-class companies.
Part of the funding, £3 Million, came from the Bedford Town Deal which won £22.6 Million from Central Government towards rejuvenating the town centre.
While the project at the college will directly support education provision in the Borough, it’s hoped the increase in students will also support local businesses in Bedford town centre nearby, as well as giving River Great Ouse’s Southbank a facelift.
“These students will also contribute to the local economy over their working life,” added Yiannis.
“As well as focusing on improving the skills of the young people within Bedford and the surrounding area, refurbishing this building on Cauldwell Street also supports the regeneration of the town centre by providing a much-improved aspect to the riverside landscape.
“The new configuration of the building now includes a new public entrance on the north aspect allowing entrance direct from the pedestrian bridge across the River Great Ouse, improving access from the bus and rail stations in the town.”
Bedford Town Deal
The Towns Fund, launched by the government in 2019 is designed to support 101 Town Deal proposals in England that will drive economic regeneration and deliver long-term economic and productivity growth in their areas.
Bedford’s Town Deal is an agreement in principle between the government, Bedford Borough Council and the Town Deal Board, setting out a vision and strategy for Bedford, and what each party agrees to do to achieve this vision.
Each of the towns selected to work towards a Town Deal also received accelerated funding last year for investment in capital projects that would have an immediate impact and help places recover from the impact of Covid-19.