GLASGOW'S 'super college' has taken a major step forward as final plans for the new £228million campus are revealed.
Today the Evening Times can exclusively show the first images of the two new buildings set to house Scotland's largest college.
Glasgow Learning Quarter (GLQ) has been identified as the preferred bidder to create the campus in the heart of Glasgow.
College Principal, Paul Little, said the plans reflect the college's ambitions for the future.
Mr Little said: "This is a major investment in the new merged college by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) and, as well as providing an amazing new learning opportunity for students, it will also positively impact the economic development of Glasgow.
"Our students will benefit from an exciting new learning environment and the wider community will benefit from the creation of jobs and from having these facilities right in the heart of the city."
Construction of the new buildings – one at Cathedral Street and one at the Riverside campus at Thistle Street – will begin in the summer once Glasgow City Council grants planning permission.
The Reiach and Hall and Michael Laird Architects designed campuses will be ready in three years time and cater for 40,000 students.
Both campuses will feature an impressive inner courtyard that can double as an exhibition space and graduation facility.
The Cathedral Street building will feature an art studio, a two-floor, open plan library and rooftop cafe.
It will also have its own TV and radio broadcast facilities.
The Riverside campus will have an 11-storey halls of residence.
Douglas Baillie, chairman of the board of City of Glasgow College, said: "Selecting the preferred bidder is yet another major milestone.
"The announcement today is proof of what we can achieve."
The buildings will be publicly and privately financed, with cash support from the Scottish Government via the Scottish Funding Council and from the City of Glasgow College's financial reserves.
They represent the single largest estates investment in the college sector in Scotland and will help transform the city centre for generations to come.
The European Investment Bank has in principle approved up to £100m of financing.
Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council, added: "The new campuses will bring huge benefits across the city.
"Education is key to ensuring a brighter future for Glasgow and will help us to position the city as a global centre for learning."
Currently, City of Glasgow College – a merger between Central, Glasgow Metropolitan and Glasgow College of Nautical Studies – is spread across 11 sites.
The Riverside campus will open in 2015, with Cathedral Street scheduled for completion in 2016, bringing the 11 sites into two campuses.
Mark Batho, chief executive of the Scottish Funding Council, said: "We welcome this next step in the progress towards the new campus.
"This is an enormously exciting project for Glasgow and for the college sector more widely."
The college is also supported by the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) using the new NPD (Non-Profit Distributing) procurement model, a form of public private partnership.
Julia Kennedy, associate director at SFT, said: "I am delighted the project has reached this milestone.
"It is the release of funding through the NPD programme that is allowing the college to be built now, rather than wait years for capital funding to become available.
"Construction is planned to start later this year and will act as an enormous boost to local businesses in the building sector and related supply chains thanks to the bidder's commitment to supporting local employment and training."