First look at how Northgate House could be transformed into new Halifax college

How the new Halifax college could look
How the new Halifax college could look

This is the first glimpse of how Northgate House and the former central library could be transformed into a new Halifax college.

The artist impression is on display at the new Halifax Central Library under the banner of Calderdale: The Next Chapter, which also details the major infrastructure plans for Halifax town centre.
In April councillors agreed to provide key funding to get the ball rolling on the new multi-million pound sixth form college based in the heart of Halifax .

Northgate House and the former Halifax Central Library

Northgate House and the former Halifax Central Library

Councillors agreed to release £2.5 million to back the scheme to develop a college at Northgate and the first students should be starting their courses there by September 2019.

Out-of-town specialist sixth form colleges such as Greenhead at Huddersfield, Rochdale and Burnley have seen a “brain drain” of students from traditional school sixth forms in Calderdale and the new project will provide them with a post-16 further education option without leaving the district as well boosting Calderdale’s economy

The Northgate site consists of Northgate House and the former Halifax Central Library and Archive which has now moved next to the Piece Hall.

The larger sixth form centre will be more viable than traditional individual school-based equivalents and will enhance the curriculum range for students, something which has been a major factor in their decisions to study at out-of-town specialist sites.

Numbers are crucial to sixth form liability and earlier this year Calder High School at Mytholmroyd was the latest to scrap its sixth form due to a falling roll.

Council leader, Labour’s Coun Tim Swift (Town), recommended the cash be released to cover the cost of work which would need to be done whatever happened to the site in future.

“Much of this work will be required whatever the future use of this building and at the same time we can make progress, ” he said.

Delaying the decision would also have had implications for the statutory duty of the council for school place provision.