A NEW £2.2m performing arts centre will open at Pontefract NEW College next year after being given the thumbs up by council planners.
The state-of-the-art facility will house dance studios, computer suites, a recording studio, a theatre, drama studios and classrooms on three floors.
Wakefield Council agreed the plans for the new building – which will be used students studying AS and A level drama, music and dance – last month.
The new building work – paid for by government’s funding for colleges and school funds – will start in January and be completed by August.
Richard Fletcher, vice-principal at the Park Lane college, said: “It really is fantastic news for all young people interested in performing arts in the local area.
“This is also a very exciting time for students joining NEW College, the performing arts department is already growing and exceeding national benchmarks in terms of results.
“The new building with state-of-the-art facilities can only improve this further.
“Once the new building is established we are hoping to offer more courses under the performing arts umbrella.”
The performing arts A level courses on offer are drama, music, dance and BTEC Diploma in music.
Last year 81 per cent of the 40 students who study drama at AS level achieved either an A or B – double the national average of students achieving higher end grades.
Phil Stokes, head of performing arts, said: “I think the new building will be a revelation for the college’s performing arts department. Before we only had one drama theatre but now we will have the facilities to teach a variety of different courses to the highest standard in the country.
“We hope it will become a building which will be recognised throughout the area.
“It will also attract other companies who can come and use it for productions and theatre work that the community will also be able to benefit from.”
Mr Fletcher added: “We are still raising money for the building by asking companies and organisation to sponsor different pieces of equipment, like a seat in the theatre, a brick or even a classroom.”
For more information about sponsorship call the school on 01977 702139.