Strengthening ‘town and gown’ links
Causeway Chamber and Coleraine Town Team have welcomed the development of a new campus at Union Street in Coleraine for Northern Regional College, fully funded by the Department for the Economy as part of a wider £85 million capital investment programme.
In keeping with the ethos of Northern Regional College, the proposed new campus in Coleraine will be an open and accessible space for students and staff and will provide opportunities for extensive engagement with the community.
The state-of-the-art campus will include an entrance via a four-storey “garden room” which will extend the neighbouring Anderson Park into the building.
A soft boundary between the park and the College will allow a free flow of students, visitors and the public in and around the building. The south-facing canteen and the restaurant will also benefit from panoramic views onto Anderson Park. The new campus will incorporate the former Church of Ireland buildings on Brook Street, which will be fully restored to house a 80-100 seat Performing Arts Centre available for public hire.
Students studying at the new campus will have direct access to the town centre through Anderson Park, making it easier for them to avail of the many local retailers and businesses in Coleraine and further strengthen established links between the College and the town centre.
Additional public funding is also going towards the revival of Anderson Park itself, so that it can be re-vitalised as an active, welcoming and safe outdoor space. A pedestrian crossing will be installed to ensure the safety of pedestrians crossing the road from the park into the town centre.
Mel Higgins, Interim Principal and Chief Executive, Northern Regional College commented: “For many years, Northern Regional College has enjoyed strong relationships with the local business community in Coleraine. This has enabled much positive engagement surrounding the new campus development in recent years and we look forward to forging new relationships and nurturing existing links with local retailers and businesses when the new campus opens in the 2023/2024 academic year.”
Causeway Chamber described the development of the new Coleraine campus as a very ‘collaborative process’.
Ian Donaghey, Director of Causeway Chamber and Chair of Coleraine Town Team said: “Northern Regional College has ensured that everyone, from stakeholders to the business community, in Coleraine have been involved in the process from start to finish. This has led to a lot of positive engagement with residents and local businesses who are excited to see how the new campus will support economic growth in the area.
“We are really looking forward to seeing the project completed and welcoming students from the new campus into the town centre.”
In October 2021, the project reached another significant milestone with the College issuing the Construction Notice, marking the commencement of construction phase of the new campus building at Union Street.
The Coleraine campus construction project is expected to complete in the 2023/2024 academic year.