Brockenhurst College staff were joined by students, architects, funding representatives and builders for the new college STEM centre’s official ground breaking ceremony on Friday.
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
The project is a result of collaboration between the College, the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), IBM and the University of Southampton.
Despite the wet weather, Principal Di Roberts picked up her spade alongside Chair of Governors Dave Yates to signal the start of the building phase.
Also present were Robert Tickell from IBM, Sarah Carter from Enterprise M3 LEP, David Steel from HNW Architects and Phil Langdown from building contractor H H Drew.
The new centre will feature cloud classrooms, virtual communities, real-time video conferencing, and interactive classrooms and workspaces.
It will be ready for the 2016 autumn term, complete with IBM’s technology lab, which is designed to aid collaborative learning.
Principal Di Roberts CBE said: “We are pleased that the building work has started. This is a unique collaboration that is ultimately going to help develop vital skills across our region for years to come.
“We are quite literally building a better future for our learners and community.”
Geoff French CBE, Chair of Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership said: “It is exciting to see the foundations of not just a building but the future of science and technology careers for young people in the Enterprise M3 area.
“The collaboration between Brockenhurst College, IBM and the University of Southampton will provide innovative, leading edge STEM facilities for our future workforce.
“We are thrilled to be able to provide funding to enable this project to be developed and further support the integration of businesses and talent development in the Enterprise M3 area.”
Chair of Governors, Dave Yates said: “It’s wonderful to see everyone here today celebrating such an important project coming to fruition.
“This inspirational facility will only enhance the already outstanding STEM teaching at Brock.”
Robert Tickell from IBM commented: “It’s a pleasure to be supporting Brockenhurst College with this important project to build the quality of STEM skills, education and training for students.
“These skills are increasingly important in today’s society and necessary for the UK to remain competitive on the global scene.”
Phil Langdown Director of H H Drew noted: “As a longstanding local Contractor in the area, we are delighted to be working with Brockenhurst College – this is an exciting scheme which will further improve the excellent teaching capabilities already on offer but will also reap many benefits for the local community.”
First year engineering student Mark Kostyrenko, who will be among the first to use the new centre, said: “I’m really looking forward to working in the new facility next year – it’s going to be such a privilege.
“Studying at Brock has been a great experience so far and I think learning in the new centre will help broaden my view of engineering.”