New college sites set to be revealed

PUBLISHED: 14:27 13 January 2006 | UPDATED: 21:37 28 May 2010

A KEY decision over the future of the proposed education centre for the Fens and West Norfolk is expected to be made at the end of the month. Two new campuses will be built in Fenland and King's Lynn as part of the merging the Wisbech-based Isle College a

A KEY decision over the future of the proposed education centre for the Fens and West Norfolk is expected to be made at the end of the month.Two new campuses will be built in Fenland and King's Lynn as part of the merging the Wisbech-based Isle College and the Lynn-based College of West Anglia, which has a branch at Wisbech.And the board of governors at the College of West Anglia is expected to make the announcement of where the new sites will be in the next few weeks, although final approve lies with the Learning Skills Council.The board has also now made a decision on the new management structure for the merged colleges - and is hoping no compulsory redundancies will be necessary.It is understood a new site in King's Lynn has been earmarked and a decision on whether the Isle College element stays in Wisbech or moves to March is expected shortly.The new campus at Lynn could cost around £50million, while £25million would be spent on the new Fenland site.Peter Stewart, principal at the College of West Anglia said: "We have been in discussion on a number of options and one is looking at a rebuild at the current Lynn site and the option of a new campus on the NORA (Nar Ouse Regeneration Area) site is also under active consideration."He said "delicate" discussions were still taking place at this stage.Education bosses are also looking at either moving to the current College of West Anglia site in Wisbech, as the current Isle College site is not thought to be suitable or big enough - or relocating both the Wisbech campuses to March.It could be about three years before the new campuses at both Fenland and Lynn will be complete, but Isle College principal Mark Taylor said there would be an advantage that students could remain at the current sites until the new buildings are finished.The merger is expected to be completed by March 31.Mr Taylor confirmed that everything was proceeding "smoothly" at this stage. He said: "Its an incredibly exciting time, and a great opportunity for the staff and the students."The colleges announced last year they had voted to merge in a bid to bring more capital investment to them.The move is expected to increase the number of students at the College of West Anglia significantly over the next five years and an increase in student intake could be by some 15 per cent.However, some Fenland people have expressed concerns at moving the Isle College from Wisbech to March.Mr Stewart, will become the principal designate of the merged college.

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