2014-10-10  

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New Agricutural Hub For Newton Rigg College

A major milestone in the history of Newton Rigg College was marked on Tuesday 7 October 2014 with the opening of the Frank Parkinson Building at the Cumbria-based college.

One of the largest investments into the campus, the work is part of the £3m investment pledged in 2012 following the involvement of York-based Askham Bryan College. The building creates a new hub for students studying agriculture, forestry and engineering, and follows the opening earlier this year of the state-of-the-art dairy unit at the college's Sewborwens Farm.

Liz Philip, Executive Principal, David Gardner of the Frank Parkinson Trust and Wes Johnson Principal, Newton Rigg College at the official opening of the new college's new agriculture hub, the Frank Parkinson Building.

Liz Philip, Executive Principal, David Gardner of the Frank Parkinson Trust and Wes Johnson Principal, Newton Rigg College at the official opening of the new college's new agriculture hub, the Frank Parkinson Building.

The Frank Parkinson Building lies at the heart of the campus and includes new teaching accommodation and study rooms on the first floor with the College reception area, offices, the library and study areas on the ground floor.

The initiative has been generously supported by the Frank Parkinson Agricultural Trust as a focus for teaching excellence and to provide an inspirational learning space.

Wes Johnson, Principal, welcomed guests to the official opening which was marked by the unveiling of a plaque and planting of a rowan tree by David Gardner of the Frank Parkinson Agricultural Trust. The ceremony was witnessed by around 30 invited guests from the industry and Cumbrian community, plus students, governors and staff.

Mr Gardner spoke of the “fantastic facilities” for student learning at Newton Rigg and said the Trust was delighted to support the initiative.

“What I have noticed is that there's a real buzz about the place, the College is on the way back up, there is some good stuff going on here” he said. “It's a wonderful time to be coming into agriculture, yes there are difficulties but the future of agriculture has never looked better.”

Mr Gardner spoke of growing demand world-wide for food particularly from the middle classes in China, and the increased interest in how food is produced, all of which presented opportunities for British farmers. “Volatility in the market place is something we have to live with, but it's a buoyant industry and is likely to remain so for many years to come. Agriculture's time has come again.” he added.

Liz Philip, Executive Principal, addressed the invited guests thanking the Trust for its generosity. Looking back to when Askham Bryan College became involved, she said student and apprentice numbers at Newton Rigg had grown from around 300 in 2012 to this year's figure of around 800. Some 90 students are currently studying agriculture on full time courses.

As part of the redevelopment programme, work is continuing on the campus removing obsolete inefficient buildings and creating new walkways and green space at the centre of the site. In addition the Grizedale Building has been refurbished and is the new home for the equine, animal management and countryside and game management departments.

Newton Rigg

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