The impressive new Tresham College of Further and Higher Education campus in Corby was opened officially yesterday.
The £36m campus was opened by HRH The Duke of Gloucester, who had a tour of the building and talked to students as well as trying his hand at bricklaying with the help of student Kieran Grant.
Earlier in the morning the royal visitor also officially opened the new multi-million pound Maplefields Academy in Corby.
Students have been using the impressive facilities in the Tresham building, which is built on the site of the former Corby Community College, since September 2011.
Carrie Wilkins, 18, is taking a hairdressing course at the campus. She said: “It is a lovely college and being here is like working in a real salon.”
Jaydean-Collette Neal, 16, who is on a beauty therapist course, echoed Carrie’s sentiments. She said: “The facilities are fantastic. The whole organisation is brilliant.
“I hope to be here for four or five years to get my diploma and the facilities here will allow me to do that.”
The head of school for service industries, Helen Berry, praised the building’s design. She said: “It is a lovely working environment, there are no corridors and a real feeling of transparency and light. A good environment is very important for learning and this building minimises problems.”
After his tour the Duke gave a short speech emphasising the importance of education for the future of the country before unveiling a plaque.
Principal Stuart Wesselby said: “The opening of our Corby campus is an important day for putting Tresham on the map for further and higher education and apprenticeship training.
“I hope that our new building will show individuals and businesses across the UK that they can access high quality facilities and encourage more people to stay in education or consider returning to learning.”
At Maplefields Academy in Corby, the duke took a guided visit around the school, while meeting some of the students.
Cllr Andrew Grant, the county council cabinet member for children, learning and skills, said, “We are delighted with the new school. It certainly ticks all the boxes.”
GSS Architecture completed Maplefields Academy in March 2012, on the site of the former Beanfield Secondary School.
This replaces primary and secondary schools which were previously on separate sites in Kettering and Corby.
Partner-in-charge Tom Lyons said: “The official opening of Maplefields Academy is a great opportunity to celebrate the building.
“The varied teaching spaces and core facilities have enhanced the experience for staff and students, creating a fully integrated learning environment.
“The project has been designed to be environmentally conscious. It includes rainwater harvesting, high levels of thermal insulation, natural ventilation, green sedum roofs and solar thermal panels.
“A biofuel boiler supports an underfloor heating system. The project also includes extensive hard and soft landscaping, and a habitat area.”