Council agrees college funding

Grand plans: Pioneer House will become part of Kirklees College.

Grand plans: Pioneer House will become part of Kirklees College.

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Council funding of £2.9 million has been approved to begin work on turning a town centre building into a new college facility.

The cabinet at Kirklees Council unanimously agreed to release the cash for the conversion of Pioneer House in Dewsbury.

The building is a key element of the partnership between the council and Kirklees College to bring state-of-the-art education to the town.

Pioneer House will be transformed into a centre for, apprenticeships and post-19 studies, specialising in creative and digital media and art, healthcare, business and finance.

The college is also planning to begin work on a purpose-built campus on the old Safeway site on Bradford Road.

The two new centres will replace the current premises of the college’s Dewsbury Centre and Batley School of Art, both located on Halifax Road.

Kirklees College plans to open the ‘Dewsbury Learning Quarter’ in 2018, with additional funding from Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Skills Capital Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund, as well as the council.

Kirklees College acting deputy principal, Melanie Brooke, said: “It’s a very exciting time, not only will we be able to provide further training and learning opportunities, but this development will also play a part in boosting the town’s economy in the long run.

“We have a lot of work to do, but are looking forward to the eventual opening in 2018 of the facilities and what we hope will be the start of a new journey for staff, students, employers and the wider community.”

Work is expected to begin on Pioneer House in the next few weeks.