The planning application for the new Farm Lodge campus at Ballymena was presented to the Planning Committee of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council on Thursday, 8 August 2019, and gained cross-party support and unanimous approval by Committee members.
Our plans are for one campus for Ballymena with a new build on the existing Farm Lodge site, with the closure of Trostan Avenue and Lamont Building.
In the main building, the innovation zone will be a flexible area that can be adapted for a wide range of activities including cross curriculum project based learning, conferences and performances. The training restaurant and hair and beauty salons will, at set times, be open to the public to provide our students with the opportunity to train in a realistic environment. The new campus will have a stand-alone sports hall that can be available to be hired for external community activities.
A detailed project plan has been developed for the construction of the new combined campus at Farm Lodge. This is a major development requiring complicated supporting infrastructure works. A phased approach to the project has also been planned to minimise disruption to students by continuing to use the existing buildings at Trostan Avenue and Farm Lodge throughout the construction. The supporting infrastructure works in Ballymena will commence in 2021, in line with the agreed funding allocation as planned and the new campus buildings are currently scheduled to open for students in September 2024.
During the build phase, the majority of provision will remain in the current campus accommodation with alternative arrangements being made for a small number of students and staff aimed at minimising disruption and ensuring continuity of the education provision.
There has been close cooperation between the College Project Team and the St. Patrick's Barracks Project Team where a strong working relationship continues, aimed at maximising the potential for the co-located projects.
The transition period will begin in 2021 with students and staff moving into the new campus at Farm Lodge in September 2024.