University agrees £5.7 million deal with college

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THE UNIVERSITY of Portsmouth has purchased Highbury College’s City Learning Centre for £5.7m.

University vice chancellor, professor Graham Galbraith, said: ‘Highbury’s City Learning Centre only became available recently. The chance to purchase a high quality teaching building right at the heart of our campus was a great opportunity. This is a valuable addition to our estate which will provide a great student experience.’

The purchase has been made to provide ‘additional high quality teaching facilities’ and to provide greater teaching space across the university.

‘It will enable us to relocate earlier than anticipated from some poor quality buildings. I am grateful to colleagues and Highbury College for making this possible in a relatively short space of time,’ added professor Galbraith.

The purchase is part of the university’s £400 million ‘Estate Masterplan’ to deliver additional high quality teaching buildings.

Despite the purchase the college plan to continue to run the Chimes Restaurant enterprise which had been part of the Learning Centre building. The fine dining restaurant allowed students to gain professional experience in a work environment.

The enterprise will now relocate to the Highbury Campus and the college plans to continue to use Chimes as a ‘pop-up’ catering enterprise offering top quality special event catering

Rob Strachen, sector lead for culinary arts, said: ‘The expectations of employers and the catering industry as a whole has changed in the past few years.

‘There has been a definite shift in the industry from traditional fine dine restaurants to a boom in street food retailers, pop-up restaurants and delivery focused enterprises. Chimes will remain an essential part of the way we deliver our culinary arts courses preparing our students for the modern catering environment.’