Visible today from the riverside in Bedford, is a modern, new-look building that represents a commitment to investment in the future of the Borough.
While work is ongoing, the development of Bedford College’s Cauldwell Street campus has hit a major milestone. The scaffolding, which was decorated in a tremendous “We <3 Bedford” sign that could be seen from around the town, is being removed.
Bedford College’s 1959 Tower Block is being transformed into a state-of-the-art, energy-efficient science and technology facility at the heart of Bedford Borough.
The £12.6m project to deliver a Health, Science and Digital Skills Centre at the riverside campus is one of seven major Bedford Town Deal projects, with the development benefitting from a £3m boost from the government-funded scheme.
The investment will help to remodel the building and upgrade a number of its spaces, including labs and IT suites. The improvements will open up the St Mary’s Gardens area and allow easy access to Riverside Bedford and the rest of Bedford town centre.
Under the plans, the project is set to generate an additional 250 full-time education students a year, as well as enhancing facilities for the 4,000 learners currently at the Bedford campus.
As an exciting skills and education development, the investment will support Bedford College’s curriculum in its extension to higher education and advanced levels, so that existing students can progress further and achieve higher levels of skill in areas where employers say there is a need.
Enhancing opportunities for Bedford
Samantha Laycock, Chair of the Bedford Town Deal Board and Manager for the Harpur Centre, said:
“The College, its staff and students are a vital part of life in the town centre and this investment will secure future footfall and contribute to creating a lively feeling in the town through the working week. This project is bringing a modern, 21st century facility to our town, which the people of Bedford deserve.
“Not only will the project help people to develop their own skills, it’s also a key part of bringing growth and investment to Bedford Borough. Grouped with our six other Town Deal projects, this is a key part of our plan to enhance skills, opportunities and a range of possibilities to Bedford.”
Cllr Andrea Spice, Bedford Borough Council’s new portfolio holder for Town Centres and Planning, said:
“We are committed to generating investment opportunities that will attract new employers to Bedford Borough and equipping people with the correct skills is an essential part of our team’s vision. It has been immensely encouraging to see this vision align with that of the Town Deal Board.
“This funding from the government is helping people to level-up their prospects and strive for the opportunities they deserve. Bedford’s best days are yet to come and this uplift in learning and earning for our borough will help our friends, families and children to take the right first steps on an important path.”
Supporting the community
Pat Jones, Deputy Chief Executive at The Bedford College Group, said:
“The Tower Block has been part of the landscape for over 60 years. The regeneration of this building will enable the college to continue to support the community to flourish through the provision of education and skills.
“This investment will establish an advanced digital and scientific skills offer in Bedford. The investment will enable the curriculum to support advanced and degree levels, so that existing students can progress further and achieve higher levels of skill in areas where employers say there is a need.”