The new North West Further Education campus was hailed “a key driver” in the local economy at the official opening of the £18m facility yesterday.
Employment and learning Minister Dr. Stephen Farry made the comment when he led the celebrations at the college.
The new development consists of two new buildings, connected by a glass footbridge across the Strand Road, and measures approximately 9,000sq metres of floor space over six storeys.
Addressing those who attended the official opening - which included protesters opposed to staff cuts at the NWRC - Mr Farry said the college has a vital role to play in boosting economic development in the region.
“Advancements in the training curriculum and the ever changing demands from employers all bring fresh challenges. I am confident that this new college development will help equip and enable the people of Derry to meet these challenges. The new campus has a vital role to play in servicing the needs of local industry and this investment will enhance its ability to be a key driver of economic development for many years to come.”
Speaking at the launch, College Principal and Chief Executive, Seamus Murphy, said the opening marked yet another “milestone in the distinguished history” of the NWRC. “These new build developments will not only enhance the range of course provision and the student experience at our College, but they will also serve to boost the lifelong learning and career aspirations for the people of this region for many years to come,” he added. During minister’s address protesters held large banners opposing plans for redundancies at the college.
The new accommodation at the site includes a 150 capacity performance theatre, music recording and practice studios, electronic engineering laboratories, a computer aided design suite and state-of-the-art hairdressing and beauty salons.