We are planning to open a new town centre campus to accommodate significant growth in student numbers and future-proof the college for years to come.
We are in the final stages of negotiations to acquire the upper floor of Westmorland Shopping Centre, where we hope to begin delivering classes from September.
Under the scheme, the upper mall will eventually become a third campus for up to 400 students, with a lecture theatre, science labs, IT and media spaces, and conference rooms. A large, open-plan atrium would support our existing relationships with community projects, festivals and events.
If the development goes ahead, shops and stores will be consolidated on the lower floor. The existing lower mall stores, the Indoor Market Hall and car parking, will be unaffected.
Student numbers have grown substantially over recent years, and our campuses at Milnthorpe Road and Beezon Road are at capacity. Between 2001 and 2021, full-time learners aged 16-18 have increased from 405 to more than 1,300. Last year, we delivered courses to more than 4,000 students, including full-time learners, adults studying professional and recreational courses, apprentices, and students following degree-level programmes.
We hope to occupy the Westmorland Shopping Centre in phases, with some classes delivered there from September this year, and full occupation of the upper levels as a standalone college campus from late 2022.
Kelvin Nash, Kendal College Principal, said:
“Due to our increased student numbers and the need for additional space, we have been looking at various options for a third college campus for more than a year. The college’s use of the Westmorland Shopping Centre as a third campus would cement the college’s place in the heart of the town and its community, contributing much to the social and economic development of Kendal and surrounding areas.
“It is a great space, and it complements our existing Milnthorpe Road Campus and Arts and Media Campus. The new additional campus would allow the college to augment its total estate, to create not just new teaching spaces but to improve staff and student social areas across all three sites.”
Kendal College is working with Praxis Real Estate Management on the reconfiguration plans. An application for change of use from retail to education has been submitted to South Lakeland District Council.
Senior Asset Manager, Ilan Goldman, at Praxis Real Estate said:
“The commitment from Kendal College and South Lakeland District Council to transforming and rejuvenating their town centre is commendable. The student and staff population that would be housed at The Westmorland Centre are exactly the tonic the cafés, restaurants and shops of Kendal are looking for as we emerge from COVID. We believe this partnership will become a fantastic case study in how town centres can adapt and thrive.”
In separate developments, we have recently secured investment for a new build construction and engineering centre, installed new hybrid and electrical automotive workshops and will open a newly refurbished animal rescue centre in September - exciting times!