Work on a two-storey extension at New College Durham’s Framwellgate Moor Campus is set to commence in the coming weeks following Esh Construction being appointed as design and build contractor.

The £8.9 million development will provide a collaborative and integrated learning space for the delivery of higher and technical level skills qualifications. It will be constructed as an extension to the College’s modern state of the art facilities.

Designed by Ryder Architecture, the building will include adaptable spaces and technologies making it more flexible for different educational delivery needs. A glazed central atrium will form the ‘heart of the building’, with work and breakout zones to encourage interaction and creativity. Specialist spaces for healthcare qualifications, and digital and science labs will also feature across the two floors.

Andy Broadbent, Principal and Chief Executive of New College Durham, said: “This is a very exciting project which will enhance our teaching delivery and provision across a range of higher and technical level qualifications, while being designed with the flexibility to allow us to adapt to new subjects which will arise in the future.

“Nationally, there is a widening skills gap across many sectors and the Government has stated that students should develop the knowledge and technical skills required for skilled careers. Students need to aspire to study these subjects and providing a modern and innovative learning environment will help encourage this.”

The appointment of Durham-based Esh Construction will provide a wealth of benefits for the area through the employment of a local workforce and procurement of a local supply chain.

Esh’s Pre-Construction Director, Chris Hale, said: “This is a significant contract award for Esh, and we are delighted to be working with New College Durham to deliver an inspiring place for students to study technical qualifications.

“We are passionate about delivering social value within our local communities and throughout the scheme we have committed to employing local apprentices, offering work experience for T-Level placements, and arranging tailored site visits to allow construction students to use the live site as part of their studies.”

Procured via the Procure Partnerships Framework, Esh Construction will work with Turner & Townsend, Ryder Architecture, Jasper Kerr Consulting Engineers and TGA Consulting Engineers to deliver the development.