A MULTI-MILLION pound refurbishment project will transform a historic Barnsley College building into an ‘exceptional’ centre of innovation.

The South Yorkshire Institute of Technology (SYIoT) - one of 21 IoTs nationally - will see one of its key facilities fully renovated to house the venue in the college’s University Centre on Church Street in Barnsley town centre.

The landmark art deco building - formerly Barnsley Mining and Technical College - will be sensitively transformed into a modern, facility to retain and enhance the classic architecture inside and out.

Funding for the project is a combination of Department for Education (DfE) regional investment and college capital funds.

Barnsley College principal and chief executive David Akeroyd said: “This is a real landmark moment for higher-level education in Barnsley and the wider region and we’re pleased to get contracts signed and now be able to deliver on our vision.

“The building work is set to start in earnest this month.

“What’s particularly important to us is that we retain our original concept of completely transforming the inside of the building into a future-focused learning environment for our level four and level five technical provision.

“This is an exciting time for the college and all our partners involved in the South Yorkshire IoT.

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“We look ahead to a future in which our hard work has led to increased opportunities for retraining and upskilling, more accessible and higher-quality jobs, and a productive workforce who are skilled in the right areas.

“It’s particularly special for us that this important IoT site will be right here in the centre of Barnsley.

“This is really strong proof that our college continues to go from strength to strength as an educational standard-bearer for the region.”

The Church Street building cost a total of £110,012 to build and furnish in 1932 and has had various uses but has maintained an educational focus throughout its lifespan.

The heart of the project is the new atrium, and a combination of learning resource and study zones set over three new mezzanine floors with a new glazed roof above and a modern cafe and breakout area at ground floor level.

GF Tomlinson have officially been appointed as the main contractor for the project and construction.

Adrian Grocock, managing director at GF Tomlinson, added: “This state-of-the-art facility will provide students at Barnsley College with a first-class, modern learning environment, whilst breathing new life into a well-known historical building in the heart of the town.

“We look forward to turning Barnsley College’s vision into reality, transforming the site into one of their most sustainable campuses and delivering a world class technical education centre the whole region can be proud of.”