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Wiltshire College & University Centre is breaking new ground with the launch of its new state-of-the-art agri-tech and science building.
A turf cutting ceremony took place at the Lackham campus on Friday 14th February to officially mark the first day of construction and saw principal and CEO Amanda Burnside and Michelle Donelan MP cutting the first turf, alongside Peter Wragg, deputy chair of the Swindon and Wilshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
The agri-tech building, which will become the centrepiece of the Lackham campus, forms part of a £22million investment by the government through the Local Enterprise Partnership into the college’s Salisbury and Lackham campuses to meet the skills requirements of the region for the future.
Principal and CEO, Amanda Burnside said, “I’m delighted to be able to welcome Michelle Donelan and welcome everyone here to mark this exciting stage of developments at Lackham.
“Technology offers real opportunities for farmers to increase productivity, protect the environment and make farming safer.
“This investment in the Lackham campus will enable students here to learn about and train in some of the latest technologies and facilities, enabling our future agricultural workforce to develop and maintain competitive edge and protect our increasingly important rural economy.”
Michelle Donelan, who was on the same day named as universities minister in Boris Johnson’s reshuffle, said, “I’m really impressed at what is being done here at Lackham.
“The £9.2million investment is fantastic for the county and will help not only my constituents, but many more people further afield.
“This event is about the passion, drive and determination of Amanda and the leadership team.
“I look forward to seeing more as the work continues.”
The college was also pleased to welcome representatives from the SWLEP, the high sheriff of Wiltshire David Scott, the architects AWW and other dignitaries.
The first phase of the £9million development works at the college’s specialist land-based campus began in September and has seen the former animal centre and outdoor enclosures demolished to make way for modern, industry-standard facilities, which are currently under construction. Former classrooms and science labs have been transformed into an impressive exotic centre featuring large vivaria, which will house reptiles, birds and fish.
And the project has also seen the transformation of the manor house into a higher education teaching centre, enabling the college to grow its university level offering over the next two years to include degrees in environmental science and sustainability and HNDs in agri-tech and agri-business management.
The college was delighted to last month announce a partnership with T H White and DeLaval, to create a state-of-the-art robotic dairy parlour supporting the development of a dedicated undergraduate dairy engineering qualification.
The existing 140-cow dairy unit will be augmented with a new robotic milking parlour featuring two robotic milking units, an advanced Bauer slurry control system and a day/night LED lighting system.
For more information about the developments at the Lackham campus or to find out more about what you can study with us, visit www.wiltshire.ac.uk.