New £2m Vocational Training Centre opens in Saltaire

Shipley College’s new Jonathan Silver Building opened its doors for the start of the Autumn term on 7 September. This is the first significant new building to be constructed within Saltaire for 129 years.

The £2m state-of-the-art centre will provide a purpose built contemporary educational setting for young people who have high needs. A key design consideration has been to enable young people who have learning and mobility difficulties to receive the education they deserve by reducing everyday barriers that they often face.

Working closely with the College, Rance Booth Smith Architects embraced design features and modern technology to improve the lives of these young people.

Caroline Batson, Project Architect comments “For those students who struggle with mobility, level access has been created to the outside at all levels.  The overall redesign of the site has also created level access into the Exhibition Building. Incorporating the latest IT systems the Building’s facilities include general teaching rooms, a multi-purpose venue, and a state of the art teaching kitchen to develop life skills. Social Space has also been created inside and outside the building to enable students to relax.”

This contemporary new building, which is sited within a Conservation Area and borders the Saltaire World Heritage Site, is sensitively designed taking into consideration views of local residents, English Heritage and the Local Planning Department.

The modern design draws upon and adds to the historic context without challenging the neighbouring buildings. This has been achieved using a harmonised palette of natural materials including locally quarried stone, zinc roofing to simulate Victorian lead roofing and a living roof.

In addition, the College’s popular Horticultural Sector has benefitted from a brand new multispan greenhouse which showcases the latest in glasshouse technology. This will be of great benefit to the new intake of green-fingered students.

In line with the College’s aspirations to be sustainable, the building is so highly insulated it only requires a small domestic boiler for heat and it is passively ventilated using stacks that emulate the surrounding chimneys prominent within the Saltaire. The heat which is generated as a by-product from the server room chillers is used to heat the new greenhouse complex in the cooler months, and the water from the roof is collected to water the greenhouse.  The green design will mean low CO2 emissions and low running costs which ensures that the new building’s carbon footprint is minimal.

This build has been completed with a £1.7m grant from the Educational Funding Agency and with the input of a range of key companies. As already stated, Rance Booth Smith were the Principal Designer and Project Managers; Triton Construction Limited were the Main Contractor; DKP were the Quantity Surveyors and Cost Consultants; Preston Barber were the Mechanical and Electrical Consultants and Adept were the Structural Consultants.

Nav Chohan, Shipley College Principal says “In the last couple of years we have invested around £2m in our existing buildings to maintain the heritage of Saltaire and this new building is crucial to our ability to support the growing educational needs of the local community. We are delighted to name this new building after the late Jonathan Silver who established Salts Mill and was the most recent entrepreneur to have a substantial impact on the development of Saltaire”

Elizabeth Barker, Head of Sector for Essential Skills says, “Staff and students are delighted with this new building which provides spacious classrooms, a teaching kitchen and performance/activity space which will transform the learning experience of our students.”

John Baker, Head of Horticulture says “The impressive modern glasshouse is a fantastic facility for the Horticulture department. It will enable our students, who include young people starting out right through to seasoned adult horticulturalists developing high level skills, to carry out a wide range of plant propagation and growing techniques. I am really delighted.”

Written on 12th October 2015Lillie Geistdorfer. Published in Members News, News