Bradford Builds for the Future: College Embarks on £29M Construction Boom

Future Technologies Centre (FTC) elevation - Bond Bryan Architects.

Bradford College has secured nearly £29 million in funding over the past two years for several major construction and renovation projects, including new facilities for T Levels, refurbishment of the Garden Mills building, and a new Future Technologies Centre. The investments will upgrade facilities and support career training aligned with regional economic needs.


Bradford College is laying the foundation for National Colleges Week 2024 (26 February – 1 March) with work getting underway on several large capital investment projects.

Over the last two years, Bradford College has successfully secured nearly £29 million in funding. The considerable investment will enhance, refurbish, and build new aspirational facilities in the heart of Bradford.

Three extensive Bradford College construction projects will soon take shape. Plans include:

  • New £3.5m vocational T Level facilities in the existing David Hockney Building.
  • A £6.9m refurbishment of the derelict Garden Mills building on Thornton Road.
  • Construction of a new £17m Future Technologies Centre (FTC), also on Thornton Road.

The projects form part of Bradford College’s ambitious estates strategy. The capital masterplan centres around building facilities that open up pioneering student careers which support regional economic growth.

T Level Facilities 

A £3.5m Department for Education (T Level Capital Fund  – Wave 5) investment will create a commercial barbering salon, nail bar, collaborative lecture spaces, TV studio, enhanced media editing and recording studios, outdoor dining facilities, and remodel of The Grove training restaurant. T Level qualifications are an alternative to A Levels and focus on the hands-on skills that employers need.

Opening in September, these latest T Level facilities follow on from £1.3m Wave 4 funding which built impressive T Level health and early years facilities in 2023. The first phase of work incorporated five new digital teaching suites, a large collaboration science lab, a mock clinical ward, and the conversion of classrooms into inspiring indoor and outdoor nursery training rooms.

Garden Mills

The Garden Mills refurbishment is the result of £5.8 m funding received from The Office for Students (OfS) Higher Education Capital Fund (with a £1.1m College contribution). Bradford College was one of only five institutions nationally to receive the maximum allocation. Contractor Tilbury Douglas has finished the strip out of the 1900s five-storey building for fit-out and completion by this Summer.

Garden Mills will enhance the College’s existing health science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) facilities. Higher-level HNC/HND and degree students will use this state-of-the-art building from the new academic year. It will house two new flexible laboratories, a prep room, six higher education digital IT labs, an ophthalmic dispensing suite, a clinical suite, a real-life work environment with consulting and testing booths, a collaboration area, and academic teaching spaces.

Future Technologies Centre (FTC)

Construction of the purpose-built FTC building will begin in the Spring following the demolition of Junction Mills and surveys by contractor, Morgan Sindall. The project was made possible thanks to £15m funding from the Department for Education’s Further Education Capital Transformation Fund (FECTF), secured in October 2022, boosted by a £2m College contribution.

The FTC will be the new home of modern automotive and digital engineering curricula, such as electric/hybrid vehicles, robotics, advanced manufacturing, and digital/3D design. The Centre will be vital in supporting the growth of technology and low-carbon skills capability within West Yorkshire. The College’s Automotive and Digital Engineering Department will relocate from Bowling Back Lane to the brand-new premises once completed during the 2025/2026 academic year.

Christopher Malish, Bradford College Vice Principal Finance & Corporate Services, said:

“We’re thrilled to see work scaling up across our project sites after years of logistics and planning. We have an exciting year ahead as we develop sector leading facilities. This is a huge boost for the College but is also a transformative investment in Bradford city centre, that also supports the wider city centre development.
 
“These multi-million-pound investments will create cutting-edge learning environments for the local community, allowing the College to deliver on its mission of transforming lives. This will ensure we are at the forefront of teaching and learning, and these new capital projects will provide outstanding spaces and innovative technologies that delivers our vision of creating a better future for all through education and training.
 
“These new facilities will allow the delivery of curricula designed to address the big societal challenges, enrich our local workforce, showcase a range of inspiring careers, and encourage more businesses to relocate to our environmental and socially responsible region.”

Sheffield-based architects Bond Bryan opened an academy at the College’s Trinity Green Campus last year to prepare for the capital projects. The on-site team are guest lecturing, delivering workshops, offering site visits, and mentoring construction and engineering students. The academy serves as a purpose-built T Level classroom and a base from which to oversee estate projects on site.

This week is the seventh annual Colleges Week celebration (26 February – 1 March), which incorporates the year-round #LoveOurColleges campaign by the Association of Colleges. Both highlight phenomenal achievements in the further education sector, with the focus in 2024 ‘influencing, engaging, and celebrating successes.’

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