Milton Keynes College begins build of first onsite Horticultural Centre

Tue 23 Jul 2013

College CEO and  Principal Dr Julie Mills and four students marked the event by beginning the digging on the new site. Dr Mills said that staff and students were really looking forward to the new development, the first stage of which will open in September. “We are really excited to develop this centre in partnership with the Council. It is going to be a fantastic facility for our students which will really help them develop independent living and enterprise skills as well help them with employability. Many of our students can currently only access these type of facilities outside of the area so it is wonderful to be able to provide them here in Milton Keynes.”
Students Aaron Leicester and Adam Prosser attended the ceremony and were looking forward to doing some gardening and learning new skills. Aaron explained that the Centre would help him gain confidence. “I want to learn to garden because it will give me experience of something new. My favourite thing is going to be eating the vegetables that I grow.”

Deputy Head of Community Learning, Sue Bland said that the new Horticultural Centre is a place where students will learn in a practical manner and help them develop sustainable skills. “Students will be able to grow their own produce which they will be able to sell in the refectory. We currently teach the students some independent living skills but being able to grow their own produce to sell and to use for cooking is a real expansion of what we can currently offer.”
Local company Newport Pagnell Construction Ltd won the tender to build the new centre. Contractor Vince Jenner said that the company was very proud to be part of the project. “ It is wonderful that the College chose us as a local company to build their Horticultural Centre and invest in the local economy. The first stage will consist of a growing area including raised beds, a greenhouse and shed. This area has been designed with accessibility in mind and will be fully usable by wheelchair users. The second stage, a state-of-the-art building, will house a purpose built teaching room, chill out room for autistic students and full changing facilities and will be open in October.”
Students with learning difficulties and disabilities is a growing department within the College with 90 students enrolled for September. The new Horticultural Centre has been planned to be fully expandable for the future.

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