As part of Exeter College’s masterplan, the Digital and Data centre is part of the first phase of 15 years of planned development at the Hele Road campus. The college embarked on this property strategy in 2016. Construction on the project started in 2019.
Completing in early 2021, the new Centre provides a nationally significant and prestigious digital learning centre in the heart of the city. Complete with digital learning laboratories, state-of-the-art IT suites and interactive seminar spaces, learners have access to cutting edge equipment to help prepare them to move directly into industry or further study.
The project comprises of a dedicated facility for the teaching of digital and data technologies, funded by the Institute of Technology (SWIoT), and the refurbishment of the existing adjoining Hele Building which will be used to teach the new T-Levels. The Hele Road campus sits between central station and St Davids station in the heart of Exeter City. This highly connected site allows the college to engage with a vast number of potential learners at all levels of experience.
The aim of the SWIOT is to reinvigorate the technical education landscape, especially at Levels 4 and 5, to meet the changing and complex needs of businesses. As part of the development process, Institutes of Technology have engaged with employers to identify current and emerging skills challenges.
The group of ‘anchor employers’ will lead the direction of the new Institute of Technology and ensure focus on the latest industry skills. These employers are from Oxygen House and the Met Office in Exeter, Babcock in Plymouth and TDK Lambda in Ilfracombe. The bid was also supported by both Heart of the South West and the Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).
Catering for up to 2,500 students, in apprenticeship and full-time courses from post-16 level to Masters degree level, the SWIOT and the Digital Data Centre will help put the region at the forefront of digital and engineering education across the UK.
As the principal post 16 provider of education and training in Exeter, the development at the Hele Road Campus will have significant impact upon the College’s ability to deliver new and innovate curriculum and train thousands of students in technical subjects across the region.
Arranged around a central atrium and feature staircase the specialist digital and data teaching spaces open onto perimeter balconies allowing visual connection across all levels. The new facility hugs the original Hele building to present a new and bold entrance to the college. Conceived as an open-ended block, the entrance is signified by a 3-storey glazed façade, flanked by ceramic clad wings which echo the historic surrounding while provided a new and dramatic faced to the college boundary.
The building provides a range of dedicated IT and digital teaching spaces, a 140 seat lecture theatre, two IT Hub rooms, a prominent showcase room and café space, all are accessed via the Atrium which encourages social interaction.