Ambitious plans for a £14million college campus will be delivered to planners and funders next month, the director of finance at West Highland college has confirmed.
Matt Simpkinson said West Highland College will increase its delivery of further education and bachelor programmes by 20% at the proposed Science, Technology, Engineering and Medical (Stem) campus .
The college hopes the new investment will attract 350 more students per year, with up to 30 fresher students moving into the area to study in the first year alone.
Mr Simpkinson was discussing the multimillion pound development for Blar Mor during a presentation at Kilmallie Community Council.
It is likely the college project will be the first in a new phase of developments on the site, which will include the new Belford Hospital.
Mr Simpkinson said: “The extended capacity at the centre will allow us to offer a new curriculum at various levels including degree programmes in computing, digital and robotics engineering and nursing.”
It is hoped funding will be agreed for the building in December, with the contract awarded by April 2019. The first intake of students in the STEM building will be in the autumn of 2020.
Funding applications are being made to the Scottish Funding Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the University of the Highlands and Islands.
Plans also include a Scandinavia-style Newton Room aimed at encouraging pupils from primary six upwards into science.
While welcoming the plans for the campus near Corpach, community councillor Mandy Ketchin wanted the planners to be mindful of people walking, rather than driving, to the campus.
Mrs Ketchin said: “We should have fewer car parking spaces so people are encouraged to use public transport.”
“Mr Simpkinson confirmed there was a community space integral to the building with a café for public use on site. He said: “I understand there are also early discussions with another food retailer for the site.”