Northumberland College’s inspirational learning environment for students with special education needs and disabilities has been nominated for a prestigious regional construction award.

The state-of-the-art SEND Centre at Kirkley Hall Campus is a finalist for the Value category at the 2021 Constructing Excellence North East (CENE) Awards. 

Part of a multi-million-pound regeneration project managed by real estate consultants Hollis, the campus’ existing Kielder Building was extended by 800 square metres over two floors to include a sensory room, a modern and innovative life-skills zone with specially adapted equipment to help students develop their independence and an employability hub to support their progression. 

It is the second award nomination for the Kirkley Hall redevelopment this year after the new Equine Centre was shortlisted in the Commercial Development category at the Insider Media North East Property Awards. 

Northumberland College’s Vice Principal for Quality & Curriculum, Lee Lister, said: “This outstanding new facility and resource will enhance the education of our young people with SEND. Supporting the successful journey to independence and adulthood is a key strategic priority for our students. The new facility places students with SEND at the heart of the Kirkley Hall Campus supporting inclusion and an enhanced student experience. 

“The added value this project has created will support the students to develop key skills for independence and their next stage of education or work, including cooking, cleaning and other skills for life. 

“I am excited to see the students use these amazing resources, support them to realise their potential and continue to develop outstanding study programmes for current and new students.” 

Paul Wharton, Associate at Hollis, said: “This recognition of the SEND Facility at Kirkley Hall Campus as one of the North East’s best examples of excellence in construction is a testament to the hard work put in by all involved.

“We are delighted to have project managed the delivery of an outstanding facility for Education Partnership North East that will enhance Northumberland College’s reputation as a centre of educational excellence for years to come.”

Louise Buckton, New Build Director at regeneration specialists EQUANS, said: “We are over the moon that Kirkley Hall has been shortlisted for a Constructing Excellence Award, an acknowledgement of the great work everyone at EQUANS and Education Partnership North East has put in to make the plans for the state-of-the-art SEND facilities a reality. 

“Our close relationship is making a real difference to the lives of students studying at Northumberland College, who can benefit from the highest standards of education in modern, top quality, facilities. The extension to the Kielder Building will allow students to thrive and leave a lasting legacy in the community.” 

The Constructing Excellence Awards showcase and celebrate achievements by projects, organisations and individuals from the built environment as they continue to set the benchmark for excellence. 

Sponsored by Northumbrian Water Group, the Values Award presented to an initiative, project or series of projects that has focused on the value of facilities in use and the outcome for owners and users, such as financial, social or environmental, and how these factors have been a key driver throughout the design and construction process.  

Kirkley Hall’s SEND Centre has been shortlisted alongside Gentoo’s ‘Core 364’ project; Newcastle University’s Dame Margaret Barbour building; Durham University’s Mount Oswald development; and Northumberland County Council’s Ponteland Schools and Leisure project at the event which will take place at the Grand Gosforth Park Hotel on Friday 8 October. 

The category winners from each of the eight regional awards across England and Wales will go forward to the national finals where they will receive further recognition and acclaim. 

Why Education Partnership North East (EPNE)?

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