MP opens £2 Million new build

Friday 18 December 2015

Richard Fuller MP officially declared open the new £2 Million Stansfeld Building at Bedford College.

“It is a delight for me to be able to open this building which demonstrates how Bedford College is continuing the work of its founder Margaret Stansfeld in ensuring inclusion for all in education,” said Richard at the building which provides a specialist environment for students aged 16+ with learning difficulties.

Standfeld Building launch

Margaret Stansfeld campaigned for women to be included in education and political life. She founded the first Bedford College and was a suffragist.

Joining Richard at the official opening was Bedford College Principal and CEO Ian Pryce CBE and Katrina O’Brien, Assistant Director responsible for SLDD (Students with Learning Difficulties/Disabilities).

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Standfeld Building Launch

Background: A beautiful new £2 Million building, in keeping with the historic street scape of St Mary’s has been completed by Bedford College.

Named the Margaret Stansfeld Building, the venue links the current award-winning Bedford College with its past as part of the ‘Bedford College of Higher Education’.

Margaret Stansfeld was the founder of the very first Bedford College, a specialist centre for training PE teachers more than a century ago. In 1976 her college, together with the Bedford Training Centre and Mander FE College in Cauldwell Street became ‘Bedford College of Higher Education’.  

“We are proud of our 130 year history at Bedford College and hope we continue to honour the legacy of educational innovation,” said Ian Pryce CBE, Principal of Bedford College,

“We continue to offer Higher Education here at the Cauldwell Street campus with HNCs and HNDs, foundation degrees and degrees linked to local universities. On this campus our students can range from a 16-year-old taking their first steps towards employment to those in their 20s and 30s gaining degree-level qualifications. Margaret was an educational pioneer and a supporter of the suffrage movement.  We wanted to honour a woman passionate about equality and social mobility.”

It blends in with the streetscape on St Mary’s including College House, said to be the oldest brick built property in the town.

Ian Pryce added: “Our Cauldwell Street site has developed over decades – and some of the buildings could not be described as ‘things of beauty’. However we are replacing it jigsaw piece by jigsaw piece, as finances allow and as the college expands.

“We have turned the 1950s workshop block into a shining eco-beacon with our solar panel and turbine-topped Brundtland Building – it looks fantastic and saves energy.

“We have removed the unsightly old bus garage which used to be the art block and replaced it with the riverside South Bank Arts Centre.

“Now we have improved the St Mary’s Street boundary with a building which is keeping with this historic area.”

Ashe Construction worked closely with Bedford College to demonstrate their joint commitment to the construction industry – especially in the areas of modern sustainable design and build.

* More good news to come at Bedford College: Funding was announced in February 2014 by Ministers and MP Richard Fuller for a £4.5 Million Advanced Engineering Centre to be built beside the tower block on the same college campus.