The Principal and Chief Executive of Northern Regional College, Professor Terri Scott, has welcomed approval for funding for a new build programme.
In a statement she said: “I welcome the announcement today that the Outline Business Case for our new build programme has been approved.
“Northern Regional College will now be taking forward a planned public consultation over the coming months seeking the views of local communities on the proposed locations.
“The College’s new build programme, which is expected to take three years, involves plans to move from a six campus to a four campus model in order to enable vital investment in infrastructure and facilities, and contribute to a fit-for-purpose environment which will enhance the overall student experience.
“The preferred option which we will be consulting on is a new campus in Coleraine on the existing site, and development of the Ballymena Campus at Farm Lodge.”
Meanwhile East Londonderry Independent MLA Claire Sugden said she was delighted with the announcement.
In a statement she said: “I am delighted the Minister has announced to my Committee this morning (Wednesday) that he has finally approved the new build of Northern Regional College at Coleraine.
“Of all the Further Education colleges across Northern Ireland, NRC is the last to be considered for capital investment. I have been pressing the Minister for investment since becoming a MLA and I am so pleased that right before the Assembly dissolves for the May election, I have a result.
“The new build is desperately needed. NRC offers fantastic courses and opportunities to contribute to our talented workforce. This is discouraged by the current facilities which are long outdated and not fit for purpose. A new state of the art build in the town centre will do great things to reinvigorate our young people and local business in Coleraine and the North West.
“While is has always been my priority that a new build happens in Coleraine, I am disappointed how this will affect Ballymoney. The campus in Ballymoney has great links with local business and the community, voluntary sector and I fear this could pull the rug from beneath them. I would encourage the Department to maintain a facility here and will gladly work with local reps to ensure this.”