New Chelsea Centre Is Officially Opened!

New College Centre Is Officially Opened!

Kensington and Chelsea College’s stunning, new state-of-the-art Chelsea Centre was officially declared open this week by Geoff Russell, Chief Executive of the Skills Funding Agency.

The Chelsea Centre brings together the college’s new multi-million six floor Hortensia building and Carlyle building, both situated on Hortensia Road, West London.

Geoff was joined by the college’s Student Governors Jaleesa Stewart and Jodi Miller, and the college’s 2011 Young Learner of the Year – Jessica Mercer, to officially open the building by cutting a ribbon tied across the front entrance.

A specially designed cake replicating the new building was also cut as part of the opening celebrations held on Thursday June 30.

Speaking about the new building Geoff said: ‘The new Chelsea Centre at Kensington and Chelsea College is at the heart of the local community and is set to inspire learners and employers for years to come. Students of all ages and from all backgrounds will learn new skills and benefit in many different ways from the inspirational new facilities at the college.’

‘Colleges are an invaluable local resource, improving lives by providing courses and training vital to employers and the local economy. Continued investment in further education projects like this is crucial not only for developing the skills of current generations but of generations to come. Ensuring that individuals and employers are equipped with the skills they need to grow and prosper in this current climate is the best way of securing future economic growth.’

The entertainment started at 4pm as more than 100 guests were treated to live music performances, art exhibitions and demonstrations of student work.

Kensington and Chelsea College Principal, Mike Jutsum, said: ‘Providing our students with the best learning environment and resources to succeed is at the heart of everything we do as a college. Our new campus is built on that very ethos and promises students a fresh, modern and vibrant learning space.’

The new college site effortlessly blends an inspirational learning environment with the latest in creative technology, whilst continuing to give students across the college access to affordable learning through financial support and reduced fees for selected courses.

Spacious fashion studios, professional Mac Design Suites, an exhibition hall and a vibrant cafÉ area are among the eye-catching features students will benefit from under the £15 million project.

Half a million has also been invested in cutting edge technology, with an open plan learning area fitted with IT stations, WiFi and plasma screens to complement class room learning. Courses will run at the new centre from September 2011.

Described as the biggest building project of its kind in Kensington and Chelsea College’s history, the new innovative eco-friendly building will use energy efficient lighting and have cycle bays to encourage greener travel among staff and students. Lifts will also mean fully accessible facilities for disabled students.

The Chelsea Centre’s new Hortensia building was built by Wates Construction and designed in partnership between Dixon Jones – the architects who transformed The Royal Opera House and The National Portrait Gallery – and Mott MacDonald, who provided the engineering services for the new site.

Alex Jefferson, Project Manager for Wates Construction, said: ‘We have very much enjoyed being part of this important project for Kensington and Chelsea College. The confined nature of the site has been challenging at times but we gain great satisfaction from handing over such a high quality building to our client and look forward to seeing it in use by students.’

Edward Jones, the architect behind the new centre added: ‘The importance of the group and the individual is emphasised in our design. All public activity is brought together on the ground floor; the information centre, the library, the multipurpose hall and the welcoming cafÉ. From here a dramatic top lit staircase cuts across the lower three floors providing an opportunity for informal contact between students and bringing daylight into the heart of the dense plan.’

Jonathan Todd, Project Manager for Mott MacDonald also added: ‘We have worked closely with the College and Dixon Jones to create a building where sustainability and energy efficiency are at the heart of the design. We hope the new site will provide students with a modern and comfortable learning environment.’