Inverness College will get a new, state-of-the-art campus funded by a £51m investment from the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), it has been announced today.
In a joint statement from the SFC, the Scottish Government and the college, officials revealed that plans for a new campus at Beechwood had been approved, creating a modern facility to bring together the institution’s 8,500 students, currently split between two campuses at Longman and Midmills.
Education Secretary Mike Russell said: “As a focal point of the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), Inverness has a vital role to play in Further and Higher Education in the north of Scotland. The new campus will provide considerable benefits for staff, its 8,500 students and the local economy.
“I am very pleased to be able to commit to providing up to 51 million pounds in funding from the Scottish Funding Council to the project and await updates on its procurement and construction with interest.”
The news is a further boost in a landmark year for the UHI, which was finally granted full university status in February of this year, ending a 19-year effort to base a university in the highlands. Inverness College is one of the UHI’s constituent institutions, and hosts the new university’s executive.
Inverness College Principal John Spencer said: “The new campus for Inverness College UHI will have a big impact, providing excellent opportunities for future generations of students and a boost to the development of the University of the Highlands and Islands as well as the city and region.
“Planning the new campus at Beechwood has been challenging in this difficult financial period, but the Government’s commitment and investment in the College will deliver huge benefits for decades to come.”
The new campus will be paid for under the Non-Profit Distribution model of funding, which has been embraced by the Scottish Government as a replacement for costly Private Finance Initiative (PFI) projects.
Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment Alex Neil said: “This type of infrastructure investment boosts our economy, supports jobs and makes a real difference for local communities like Inverness.
“Delivering projects like this through the Non-Profit Distributing model means better value for taxpayers than PFI. This kind of innovative approach will form the basis of the Infrastructure Investment Plan for Scotland that I will publish next week.”
The announcement of the £51m investment in Inverness College comes just a week after the SFC and the Scottish Government approved a £200m plan to create a ‘supercampus’ for the newly-formed City of Glasgow College.
Mark Batho, Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council, said: “This is very good news for future students as well as for the business and communities that benefit from the work of Inverness College.
“The development adds to a portfolio of Funding Council investments that has seen over 500 million pounds spent since 2000 with new build or major improvements in estates at 23 colleges.”