Preston College’s new £5 million visual and performing arts centre has been officially opened by BBC North director Peter Salmon.
Salmon, a BAFTA winning producer from Burnley, switched on a 3D light projection display covering the front facade of the building which stands at the entrance to the college’s Fulwood campus.
The unveiling was watched by an audience including hundreds of students along with representatives from the county’s business, education, political and creative sectors.
Commenting on the new facilities, Salmon said: “At a time when colleges and universities are facing a difficult and challenging environment it’s great to see investment and confidence in the future.
“It’s heartening to see such a clear and confident investment in our future workforce. I’m incredibly impressed with the performance and production facilities here at Preston College but equally with the enthusiasm and passion of everyone I’ve met here at this fantastic facility.”
Salmon spoke about integrating with Preston in the Guild year, including the plans to film the upcoming live BBC Passion drama. He also described plans for BBC North in Salford Quays, saying: “It’s part of a new collaborative approach, to find ways for people to come together and benefit the local communities.
“We need to make sure that education compliments what industry needs.”
The new centre is home to all creative arts students, including dance, drama, photography, textiles and music. Its features include a 100 seat theatre, dance, music, photography, television and radio studios and as art design rooms. The building also houses an Apple Authorised Training Centre.
Jason Turton, head of visual and performing arts at Preston College, said: “Our new facility is a superb addition to the College’s visual and performing arts provision where courses attract students from across the UK.
“Its been built with our learners, for our learners.
“We are delighted that Peter Salmon was able to join us to mark this special occasion and look forward to welcoming many more people to the building, from students to members of the wider local community, in the months and years ahead.”
Dr Lis Smith, principal of Preston College, said: “With the creative industries rapidly expanding in the region it’s now more important than ever that young people in the North West are afforded chances to take advantage of the opportunities that exist for them in this area.
“The high quality teaching and learning environment we have at Preston College means that our students have the best possible chance of securing employment once they have completed courses with us.”