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ORPINGTON: £26m college rebuild beginning to take shape
A MULTI-MILLION pound college redevelopment is beginning to take shape after six months of intensive building work.
Orpington College is being given a £26m revamp to provide state-of-the-art facilities that will help regenerate the town centre.
Buildings dating back more than 30 years have already been demolished and the foundations are now in place for new teaching blocks.
A huge steel framework is already in place, which principal Simon Norton says resembles a big Meccano set.
He said: “For the first time everyone at the college and local people can see it taking shape.
“This follows several months work digging out the foundations and concreting.
“It’s very labour intensive and difficult but you don’t have much to show for it, whereas now we have this big structure going up and you can really see the scale of it.
“It’s like this big Meccano set.”
Construction is on target to be completed by early 2010, with the college set to boast a study centre, eco-friendly heating and cooling systems, student café and social area.
The college’s sports hall will also benefit from a new roof and other major improvements.
In October workmen on the site got a surprise when they dug up an Anderson bomb shelter from the Second World War.
Mr Norton says the redeveloped college is hugely significant for the students and Orpington.
He said: “Students will get first class facilities and buildings and they are already getting excited.
“Many people have said the centre of Orpington has got a bit tired in recent years.
“The college is part of a very positive move for the centre of Orpington.”
Cassandra Perry, aged 19, who is studying A level applied business at the college, said: “I can really see the benefits of moving onto a single campus.
“At the moment we have lessons timetabled in buildings both on and off site, so it will be great to study on just one site.”