WORK to build a £12m college at the Solent Enterprise Zone has moved one step further.
Fareham College has confirmed that it has entered into a design-and-build contract with Leadbitter to construct the centre, which will be a Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Advanced Skills Training (Cemast).
Fareham College is also celebrating after its governors approved a £4.7m grant from the Skills Funding Agency, which will go towards refurbishing the existing Bishopsfield Road site.
Workmen have been spotted on the Solent Enterprise Zone site, although this is just preliminary work, according to deputy principal, Peter Marsh, who has masterminded the overall strategy.
He said: ‘Last week our college governors signed the contract with Leadbitter with the aim of getting the work under way and done by next year.
‘At the moment they are doing preliminary works to make sure we have done all the appropriate archaeological work before work properly starts.
‘So it looks like they are on the site already, although work has not officially started.
College principal Nigel Duncan said: ‘Fareham College is delighted to have reached this critical milestone.
‘With works now started on site, we are confident we will open our doors to hundreds of learners in September 2014.’
Perkins Ogden Architects designed and secured planning for the centre.
Director Mervyn Perkins said: ‘Our aim is that this centre, the first building on the recently-created Solent Enterprise Zone at Daedalus, will set a high design-quality benchmark and even a building typology upon this unique site for future neighbours to respond to.’
The Cemast project is the first phase of a wider £26m programme to transform Fareham College into a centre of excellence for technical, vocational and applied studies.
The college will be publishing its plans for this site and launching consultation on proposals in mid September.
Mr Marsh said: ‘With Cemast now under way we are determined to provide all our learners with the very best industry-standard learning environment.
‘This grant gives us confidence to come forward with exciting plans to transform our existing site.
‘It’s exciting stuff.’