Celebration event formally marks opening of £78m Falkirk campus

Image credit: Whyler Photos of Stirling

FORTH Valley College’s (FVC) £78 million Falkirk Campus has been officially opened by Scotland’s further education minister Jamie Hepburn.

The award-winning campus opened its doors to students in January 2020, but an official opening ceremony due to be held in April of that year had to be cancelled due to the pandemic lockdown.

The minister marked the official opening of FVC’s HQ at an event on December 6 and the completion of the college’s £128 million estates programme which saw its Alloa Campus (£21 million) opened in 2011 and the Stirling Campus (£29 million) the following year. The Scottish Government’s investment in the construction of the new Falkirk campus made it one of the largest publicly funded building projects in Scotland.

Image credit: Whyler Photos of Stirling

Professor Ken Thomson OBE (FVC’s principal and chief executive), and Trudi Craggs (interim chair of the FVC board of management) also welcomed Mike Cantlay (chair of the Scottish Funding Council), Hector MacAuley (MD of main contractor Balfour Beatty), and Neil Gillespie (design director of building designers Reiach and Hall Architects) to the celebration.

The campus has just missed out on this year’s Andrew Doolan Prize for the best building in Scotland award, and was also one of six finalists in the UK-wide Stirling Prize for the best building in the UK 2022.

Facilities include laboratories, a process training rig, transmission training centre, distillation plant, virtual control room, mini-rig, biotechnology centre, sports centre, and front of house training salons for hairdressing and beauty therapy.

Image credit: Whyler Photos of Stirling

Flexible spaces and advanced tech highlight the progressive approach to learning and teaching, while other facilities include a learning resource centre, food outlets, conferencing, and sports facilities.

Jamie Hepburn MSP was given a tour of the site and spent time in the science labs, engineering super workshop, and renewables training centre. He said, “This £78 million campus is a remarkable setting for learning and demonstrates Forth Valley College’s commitment to providing the best learning opportunities possible to the people of this region. It also shows this government’s investment and belief in the college sector. As we continue to emerge from the pandemic, the role of Scotland’s colleges in rebuilding our economy will be even more crucial than ever.”

Professor Ken Thomson OBE added, “We have been waiting on this day for more than two-and-a-half years and all our staff and students deserve to savour this moment for everything they have been through over that time. Our new HQ – which focuses heavily on training facilities designed for science and technology, engineering, sport and healthcare – will enhance further education for the people of Falkirk and beyond, for years to come.

Professor Ken Thomson OBE and Jamie Hepburn MSP. Image credit: Whyler Photos of Stirling

“We can’t thank architects Reiach and Hall and our main contractors Balfour Beatty enough for designing and constructing our new building and helping us to realise our vision, and I personally would like to thank everyone who has worked on the project for guiding it to completion.” 

Trudi Craggs commented, “I have seen first-hand all of the hard work that has gone in to getting us to today, not only by college staff, but also by Balfour Beatty and their team. Completing the building and decanting from the old campus while still delivering for our students was no mean feat. We now have a fantastic facility fitting for the college, providing our students with a second to none learning environment.”