Mayor hails Northern Regional College plans as “fantastic news for Mid and East Antrim”

Monday 5 February 2018

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Paul Reid, has welcomed news that the contract for the new £84million capital investment programme at Northern Regional College has been awarded to McAdam Design.

Northern Regional College Farm Lodge Campus

This significant investment will deliver new state of the art campuses on the current sites at Farm Lodge in Ballymena, and Coleraine.

The projects are scheduled to be completed by summer 2022 and are funded by the Department for the Economy.

McAdam Design, a leading Northern Ireland based architectural and civil engineering design consultancy, was appointed to take forward the project following a public sector tendering process managed by the Department of Finance’s Central Procurement Directorate.

The design team will begin work immediately to advance the scheme with the development of proposals for both sites, working to industry guidelines to ensure the design in Ballymena fits with its setting and likewise in Coleraine, where the new campus will integrate on an expanded site within the town centre.

A comprehensive pre-planning community consultation will be taken forward in the coming months.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Paul Reid, said: “Today’s announcement by Northern Regional College (NRC) is fantastic news for Mid and East Antrim.

“This remarkable project will ultimately provide crucial investment in the education and development of our citizens, as well delivering a major boost to our economy.

“Our partners at Northern Regional College make an incredible contribution to the lives of residents in our Borough.

“Just last week our Council launched Amplify - an exciting new strategy to boost the economy and grow business throughout Mid and East Antrim.

“The strategy was prepared by Council working collaboratively with a number of key stakeholders, including Northern Regional College, to support the development of Mid and East Antrim right through until 2030.

“We look forward to continuing and building on our close working relationship with NRC, a place where our citizens can fully realise their potential and learn and develop skills for life, and will continue to support the college in any way we can as it works to deliver new state-of-the-art campuses.

“All of those involved in this incredible £84million project are to be commended for their unrelenting efforts and commitment, and as Mayor I look forward to seeing their ambitious plans and vision to create two of the UK’s top education centres brought to fruition.”

Commenting on the appointment, Chairman of Northern Regional College, Hugh Crossey said: “I am delighted to see the College reach this significant milestone on a trajectory to move from six to four campuses which will in turn deliver greater efficiencies and improved student experience.

“There is a great sense of momentum behind the new build projects, building confidence with our staff and students. We look forward to engaging with key stakeholders as part of the process to optimise the investment for the wider community. This exciting investment has been made possible by the support and financial commitment from the Department for the Economy.

The appointment of the design team follows months of preparation. Extensive work has also taken place on preparing the campuses with the successful conclusion of efforts to secure adjacent lands at the Coleraine campus through the purchase of St Patrick’s parish centre to provide an expanded footprint.

On the Farm Lodge Campus in Ballymena there has been close cooperation with the St. Patrick's Barracks project team where a strong working relationship has developed aimed at maximising the potential for the collocated projects.”

Beverley Harrison Director of Further Education at the Department for the Economy said: “This is a significant step in the development of the new campuses and demonstrates the Department’s commitment to the delivery of first class education and skills across Northern Ireland.

“The announcement today is good news for the local economy and will benefit employment locally by providing cutting-edge facilities which will increase the skills base locally and attract investment and learners to the area. 

“Northern Regional College is to be congratulated on the hard work which has brought the projects to this point and the Department will continue to support the College as we move forward with this vital investment.”