A MERSEYSIDE architect loved her college so much that she came back to design its stunning £3.5m new centrepiece.
The ECHO’s exclusive image shows how the multi-million pound new venture at Birkenhead Sixth Form College will look when it opens to students in September.
And the building, which is expected to be completed at the end of the month, marks a triumphant homecoming for former student Rachel Clegg.
The 29-year-old, from Birkenhead, now a qualified architect with Wirral firm Ainsley Gommon Architects, has helped oversee the design and building work of the new base.
Complementing the existing premises, the new facilities will host science labs, five new arts classrooms, student communal spaces, offices and a purpose-built disabled toilet and shower room.
Rachel, who passed A-levels in science, maths and art, said she was delighted to be back at the college she attended from 1999 to 2001. She said: “Birkenhead Sixth Form College played a key part in my education and development into a career in architecture, so it’s great to be back and working on these facilities, which will give other students an even greater stepping stone to further education or employment.
“The college has a strong ethos of supporting students to fulfil their ambitions – my teachers actually helped me to secure work experience at Ainsley Gommon while I was studying.”
The Oxford Brookes University graduate has managed the project for Ainsley Gommon from design concept through to site work.
She added: “ I was always keen on architecture and gained the A-level results I needed to attend Oxford Brookes, which has one of the best architecture departments in the UK.
“I worked closely with Steve Geary, one of our directors, on the design work and we are very proud of the developments.”
The college has received strong praise from Ofsted for its work in getting students into university and employment with more than 300 taking the higher education route each year.
Principal Kathryn Podmore said: “The new buildings are due for completion in March and will give existing and prospective students even better learning facilities across our science and arts departments. It has been a pleasure to welcome Rachel back and we are delighted that another of our students has progressed into such a prestigious profession.”