CALDERDALE College’s multi-million pound extension opened its doors to students for the first time this week.
The “Inspire Centre” is part of an £8 million redevelopment scheme which includes a new entrance to the main college building on Francis Street, Halifax, a new cafeteria, partial refurbishment and redecoration throughout.
The centre will be officially opened on October 17 by Yorkshire bowler and former England cricketer Ryan Sidebottom.
He will join other VIPs, students and staff for a ceremony and tour of the new facilities.
They include a sports hall, dance studio, hi-tech learning resource centre, fitness suite, seven classrooms, science labs and an all-weather pitch to support students studying sports and public services, dance, science, animal care and management, and horticulture.
The pitch and sports hall will be open for community use during the evenings and at weekends.
The centre will continue to offer skills development in four sports: women’s football, women’s netball, men’s rugby league and men’s football.
A cricket development centre could also be introduced over the next year.
“Learners have been coming in today and looking around in amazement”, said assistant principal Craig Tupling.
“The Inspire Centre certainly has the wow factor and it is a fantastic learning environment which Calderdale can be truly proud of - we are looking forward to the official opening.”
More than 5,000 students attend the college at sites throughout Calderdale.
The football academy provides the youth team for FC Halifax and the rugby league academy works with Halifax RLFC.
Ofsted inspectors described the college “Good with outstanding features” when they visited in March.
The college administers the £68 million Enhancement Fund for skills and workforce development across Yorkshire and Humber.
Last year, it was awarded the Calderdale and Kirklees Quality Standard in Careers Education Information Advice and Guidance for learners.