3-D projectors, lathes, rooms that change size, and a rooftop terrace - the new face of schooling in Doncaster
This is the multimillion college which will be school for hundreds of Doncaster school children – and opens next month.
Doncaster’s multimillion pound University Technology College building, at Waterdale, is now being fitted out in preparation for its first intake of pupils after October half term, and the Free Press was given a sneak preview of the building.
After pupils enter through the main entrance, on College Road, they will walk past a reception desk, and through electronic gates, using a pass to get through them.
Walking along the corridors, they will soon reach a room set up to house a 3D projector, allowing detailed images of any engineering item to be created for them to see with depth.
The same floor also houses complicated engineering equipment such as lathes and drills in an engineering suite. The ceiling has been designed to reduce the noise generated, for health and safety reasons and so that lecturers can be heard.
The next floor up, pupils will find a modern laboratory equipped for science experiments.
To go up the stairs, students will use an airy, bright staircase. It climbs next to a glass atrium facing onto Waterdale, and is further illuminated by a glass ceiling at the top of the building.
Climbing up to the next floor, pupils will arrive at a modern lecture theatre, with seating for 120. But the seating is retractable, which can leave the room empty for use for other purposes
Helen Redford-Hernandez, chief executive of the Brighter Futures Learning Partnership Trust, which will run the UTC, says there is flexibility built into the building with this sort of feature. Some of the walls are also removable, so one large room can be created from several smaller rooms if needed.
At the top of the building, is a sixth form area.
It boasts some of the best views in Doncaster, with a glass wall on one side next to what will be a common room with a kitchen, and a rooftop terrace garden, and outdoor area with a view right across the skyline of Doncaster. It may be hired out to outside organisations.
Mrs Redford-Hernandez said 40 per cent of the pupils at the college next year would be girls – a figure higher than most UTC.
She said: “We’ve made it clear that this is not just about heavy industry. It is also about science and problem solving, and knowledge.
"The technology includes virtual reality headsets and a 3D projector to view engineering imagery. For more expensive engineering equipment, we will work with engineering firms, running projects with them.”
She said: “We are already open, but we move into this iconic building at half term, and we’re really excited about it. We will be the first UTC in the country to be heavily oversubscribed and that is thanks to so many fantastic people who have worked on the project, particularly employers who have really supported this type of education.”
Lessons started for the UTC’s first intake of 180 pupils in September, in a temporary base at the National College for Advanced Transport Infrastructure – previously called the National College for High Speed Rail.
They have been transported to the temporary base, at Doncaster Lakeside, by specially arranged buses, until the new, central site is opened.