Fort William STEM centre plans submitted by West Highland College

West Highland College UHI has lodged plans to create a new science and technology centre at its Fort William campus.

Designed by Colin Armstrong Architects, the £14 million development will create a building of approximately 3400m2 on a 2.5-acre site on the Blar Mor, adjacent to the planned new Belford NHS hospital.

Fort William STEM centre plans submitted by West Highland College

The centre will include a range of flexible wi-fi enabled learning spaces equipped with the latest learning technologies and industry standard equipment. This will include laboratories, computing suites, a clinical simulation suite for health training as well as engineering, construction and manufacturing workshops.

Students will also benefit from being able to use a number of informal study areas, a dedicated learning resource centre and a student services hub providing guidance and support.

West Highland College said the new centre is part of its strategy to develop Fort William into a major hub for learning in the West Highlands, complementing its existing campus at An Aird.

The strategic development aligns with the vision for Fort William 2040 and supports the exciting economic developments in Fort William and across the West Highlands, creating important new opportunities for all those who want to live, learn and work in the region.

Fort William STEM centre plans submitted by West Highland College

In its planning submission the architects wrote: “The building design has taken the form of a series of gables influenced by other large-scale building types found within a Highland Rural context, be they agricultural barns or bonded warehouses.

“Blar Mhor is recognised on a masterplanning level as containing some of the most important civic buildings planned for construction in the next 10 years. As one of these buildings, the STEM project has embodied an appropriate level of design quality in the external envelope.”

It is hoped the contract will be awarded by April 2019 with the first intake of students in the autumn of 2020.

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