Diggers have moved in at a York college at the start of work to construct a £6m animal management centre in time for autumn.
The new facility at Askham Bryan College and the creation of an adjoining wildlife and conservation area comprise the first phase of a £34m project, described as the largest in the College’s 66-year history. It will also see the addition of a new equine centre, teaching and student accommodation, an engineering workshop, improvements to the College’s farm and a glazed quadrangle area at the heart of the campus.
College principal Liz Philip said: “The start of work on this project is a significant milestone not only for the College but also for young people wanting to develop career paths into animal science and management. The centre will provide a wonderful working environment for our students, and hopefully it won’t be too long before we are able to welcome the public in to see the new animals in the wildlife and conservation area.”
The new two-storey animal management centre will have lecture rooms, a replica veterinary practice, a hydrotherapy room for animal recuperation, cattery, kennels and housing for smaller animals such as rabbits and cavies.
A number of environmental features are incorporated in its design, such as windcatchers for natural ventilation, solar panels and solar shading. The building will be used by the College’s degree and diploma students studying animal management and vet nursing and will also benefit the College’s students at its other centres in Bradford, Scarborough, Guisborough and Newcastle.
The new centre will lead directly into the wildlife and conservation area which will be used by students and opened to the public at a later date.
As a result of the overall building project, it is anticipated that the number of students studying across all its centres will increase to 6,000 in 2017.
The College keeps a variety of animals to give students practical experience, including birds of prey, skunks, mongoose and marmosets, and more exotic species, such as zebra, ostrich and wallabies are expected to be added.