PLANS for a radical revamp at Furness College are to be considered by councillors today.
The college wants to knock down existing buildings and replace them with a state-of-the-art complex as part of its £35m refurbishment plan.
Highways officials say it requires Channelside to be closed off.
Barrow Local Committee – the borough’s decision-making arm of Cumbria County Council – is due to consider the plans at its meeting today.
A report has been prepared for the panel of councillors.
“The college has made initial inquiries seeking to stop up (close off) Channelside to facilitate the development of the college,” the report says.
“It is understood the existing buildings have limited lifespan, are not fit for purpose, are unable to meet increased demands and the site is split into two halves by a public road.
“The college proposes to demolish five of its existing buildings and replace them with a single build which will straddle the highway.
“This will provide approximately 50 per cent increase in floor area.
“It is proposed that a controlled service road to the rear will enable material delivery/servicing.”
The report says Cumbria Highways and area support officers will continue to liaise with the college to help support and facilitate the closure of Channelside, subject to the required statutory procedures being completed.
The report adds: “Highways officers have indicated that the roads are not critical to the traffic flows of the area, and once steps have been taken to safeguard the rights of utility companies requiring access to their apparatus by means of deeds of grant of easement or way leave provisions, or diversion, Channelside will be unnecessary as public highway.”
College bosses say the state-of-the-art complex is expected to be in place at the Channelside site by December 2010.
Work could start in May 2008, and college management say the contemporary development will fit in with the town’s other regeneration schemes.
This grand design is the preferred option at this stage.
It has been produced by AA Projects Ltd, an education property consultants based in Manchester.
The covered campus space is set to grow from around 11,000 square metres to about 18,000 square metres.
The multi-million pound building will house a range of classrooms, workshops and studios.
The project will also provide on site sports facilities, something the college currently lacks.
The proposals include a sports hall and external all-weather pitch, primarily for the teaching of the college’s sports courses, but management are considering hiring out the new facilities to the community.