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Contractors soon to be sought for new state-of-the-art Armagh college

Contractors to deliver a new multi-million pound Southern Regional College campus in Armagh will be sought later this year.

If all goes according to plan, a notice calling for contractors to apply is due to be published before the end of October, Armagh I understands.

And, ahead of that, an information event is due to be held in Portadown.

This will allow those involved in the various associated industries to be given an update on the plans, what is involved and required and to decide whether or not they will make a bid.

The most recent cost for the project – a state-of-the-art development at Lonsdale Road – has been given somewhere between £23 million and £28 million.

Public consultation events have already been held earlier in the summer.

The intention is for the Armagh campus – one of three within the borough – to be operational by 2020.

Antrim-based consultancy firm WYG Management Services Limited was appointed last August to oversee the project for all three colleges.

It is involved in appointing the contractors and all sub-contractors involved in delivering three campuses to replace those on their existing sites in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon.

A pre-planning application was submitted to Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council for consideration back in April.

The Armagh development – consisting of between three and four storeys – will cover an expansive site in the region of 16,250 sq metres.

It will be located at Lonsdale Road/College Hill and the proposal includes car parking, landscaping and associated site works.

A new 6,000 sq metre SRC campus – at a cost in excess of £8 million – is also planned at Castlewellan Road in Banbridge.

And the Craigavon campus – the biggest at 18,500 sq metres – would cost anything up to £35 million.

All three colleges will be subject to their own individual advertisements and tending competitions.

A special information day – to give market insiders more information – is due to take place at the Southern College’s campus in Portadown on Wednesday, September 14, at 2pm.

Anyone wishing to be present has to confirm in advance by emailing new facilities will be state-of-the-art and, according to the Southern Regional College, geared towards the provision of “world class professional and teachnical educational training”.

Giving a glimpse into what is planned in June, an SRC spokesperson said: “A key feature of all the new campuses is the provision of innovation hubs through which students will engage with business and industry in ‘real world’ industrial projects and challenges.

“The new campus (in Armagh) will also include learning facilities required for learning at degree and post-graduate levels. This includes the provision of state-of-the-art learning esource centres, integrated student social areas and learning support services.”

A contract notice is expected to be published in or around Hallowe’en.

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