New Dudley college building hits the high point

The creation of an £18 million new college development in Dudley has reached a major milestone with construction of its steel frame now complete.

A worker is dwarfed by the huge frame for the sports hall at the college site
A worker is dwarfed by the huge frame for the sports hall at the college site

The creation of an £18 million new college development in Dudley has reached a major milestone with construction of its steel frame now complete.

Work started on the vocational centre, being built on the site of a former fire station in Tower Street, in February and it is expected to open to students next September.

The building, which will be known at Dudley Evolve, forms part of a £30m university-style campus scheme by Dudley College to create a new learning quarter in the town centre.

It will house modern learning facilities for business, information technology and travel and tourism students.

Now bosses have held a topping out ceremony at the site to mark the completion of the final bolt being put in the steel structure at its highest point, which was attended by a number of students.

A college spokesman said today that the elements of the building are now also taking shape, including the sports hall, large enough for six badminton courts, the theatre, which seats 180 people, and the hair and beauty salon which will be open to the public.

Also progressing is the large fitness suite, which is being built behind the old fire station facade, two dance studios and a music area that houses a recording studio.

Dudley College principal Lowell Williams said: “Today is a very exciting day – now we’ve reached the topping out stage you can see how the development is really taking shape.

“Every time I visit the site I see how it’s transforming from a steel structure into the fantastic vocational training centre we’ve imagined and planned.

“It really is going to be an unbelievable place to study.”

* Work has also started on the college’s new sixth form and higher education centre, called Dudley Sixth. It will be built on land near to the Grade II-listed Kudos House in Priory Road.

College bosses had originally wanted to demolish the building but had to go back to the drawing board after it was awarded listed status.

Report by Helen Cartwright