07/04/2009

£44m Contract Signed For Belfast College

Last week's gloom over engineering job losses in Northern Ireland was lightened on Monday with news that the £44m educational building contract had been signed.

Belfast Metropolitan College's (BMC) new multi-million pound city centre campus will be located in the Titanic Quarter in east Belfast.

It will open in August 2011 and replace the college's buildings in both Brunswick Street and College Square East. A total of 2,500 students will be accommodated in the new premises, which are being constructed by a property development consortium, Ivywood Colleges.

East Belfast DUP MLA, and Deputy Chair of the Assembly's Employment and Learning Committee, Robin Newton (pictured here) joined the NI Employment and Learning Minister Sir Reg Empey in welcoming the project.

Mr Newton said: "The building of the brand new BMC campus in the Titanic Quarter will act like an anchor tenant type project, help boost the confidence of investors and encourage additional prospective developers.
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"At a time when the economy is reeling from job losses this long awaited decision is a welcome one.

"The building work will create several hundred skilled construction jobs with longer term jobs following on within the new building," said the East Belfast politician.

Executive Minister Sir Reg Empey agreed that it would "give a boost to our construction industry".

He added: "In these difficult times, where training is at an all time premium, this will undoubtedly be a positive step forward in encouraging people to follow the route into lifelong learning."

For the college itself, Dr Raymond Mullan, the interim Director and Chief Executive, said: "This is a timely and necessary development which will provide state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities for our students and employers and enable Belfast Metropolitan College to enhance its leading role in the growth of the local skills base and the Northern Ireland economy."

Both the Brunswick Street and College Square East properties will be sold on the open market when the new campus opens.

(BMcC/JM)

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