The opening of the second phase of Riseholme College’s £24.5million Showground Campus, on Lincolnshire Showground, was celebrated at an official ceremony attended by students, staff, dignitaries and supporters of the College.
Guest of honour, Gainsborough MP Sir Edward Leigh, officially opening the new facilities alongside representatives from the College’s sporting partners, Leicester Tigers.
The £11.5million second phase of the campus includes the Agri-Tech Health and Nutrition Centre, incorporating specialist laboratories and food science facilities, and the Sports and Health Science Centre, which includes a fitness suite with state-of-the-art gym equipment, Olympic-standard mixed use sports hall and flood-lit, all-weather pitch.
Phase two of the campus, supported by £7.5million of Government funding secured by the Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), is enabling the College to launch new courses in subjects including Food, Sport, Childcare, Public Services and Tourism.
Jeanette Dawson OBE, Principal and Chief Executive of Riseholme College, a part of Bishop Burton College, said: “This is another historic day for Riseholme College and the county of Lincolnshire. I am delighted so many of the College’s students and supporters are able to be here to celebrate this occasion.
“One year ago we were celebrating the opening of the first phase of the Riseholme Showground Campus. That was a wonderful occasion and one that highlighted the College’s steadfast commitment to delivering land-based Further Education in Lincolnshire.
“Twelve months on, we are here to officially open phase two of the campus – which, again, has been delivered on time and to budget.
“Significantly, the opening of phase two provides the College with the platform to focus on improving the health and wellbeing of the county’s population and address a skills gap in the region.
“Phase two of the Showground Campus links agriculture and food development to nutrition, through to health and sport. There has never been a more important time to focus on improving health and wellbeing and, alongside our sporting partners, we will now be able to do this in Lincolnshire.
“We will also be filling a skills gap in the food, nutrition and sport industries. With obesity a significant issue nationally and Lincolnshire having a particularly aging population, there is a need for a range of healthcare and wellbeing skills. Our students will be able to help fill the demand.
“This facility has been created specifically with that focus in mind and we are launching new provision that will enable students to pursue careers in these sectors.
“I would like to thank the Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership for its support in securing Government funding towards the building of phase two. It recognises the need to address these issues.
“This campus perfectly complements the Riseholme Park campus down the road, where our students gain valuable practical farming experience and are able to benefit from our equine facilities and on-site student accommodation.
“Together, these campuses ensure our students have the perfect platform to fulfill their potential.”
Sir Edward said: “It is a very exciting occasion and it is very exciting for the county.
“I am thankful to everybody who has made this possible. This college is committed to first class education and that is what it will be providing at this campus.
“Lincolnshire deserves the best land-based college in the county and that is what it is getting.”
Kathy Fenn, 20, from Naffington, near Stamford, is in the second year of a Foundation Degree in Agriculture at the College.
She said: “Studying at the College and the new campus is a real opportunity, I think.
“The College has been able to expand and launch new courses and that is very exciting. The facilities here are really great and make it easy to focus on your studies. It also helps that everyone is so friendly and the staff really know their stuff.”
The ceremony was also used to launch the College’s new Rugby Academy, in partnership with Premiership rugby club, Leicester Tigers.
The club’s Head of Community and Global Partnerships, Scott Clarke, and first team player, hooker George McGuigan, attended the ceremony.
Around 400 Further Education students and 80 degree students currently study at the College. Further Education students study at both the Showground Campus and Riseholme Park Campus, with degree students exclusively studying at the Showground.