WORK is set to start on refurbishing the Stourbridge campus of Birmingham Metropolitan College in Hagley Road which is expected to cost within the region of £5million.

The front of the existing 60-year-old building, which houses the reception area, learning resources centre, offices and classrooms, is to be given a brand new facelift which will incorporate a double height atrium reception.

There will also be a sculptured opening to the feature stairs in the atrium to provide an interactive space with the flow of suspended acoustic baffles and blade lighting which lead to the main artery route of the campus.

In addition, there will be improvements made to the existing landscape design.

Midlands company Clegg Construction will carry out the refurbishment and part of the deal will be to employ six construction apprentices while providing ten-work experience placements for students. Eighty per cent of the workforce will also be sourced from the local community.

Work is scheduled to start in early May and Birmingham Metropolitan College's executive director of estates John Starmer said: "It’s our aim to create a vibrant, exciting presence in Stourbridge by providing high quality teaching and learning facilities at the heart of the community whilst at the same time equipping students with the skills relevant to our local, economic needs.”

The college has also been awarded £540,000 to build a new independence unit for special needs students at its art and design campus in Brierley Hill.

Secured through Dudley Council, the money will be used to create a new facility for borough youngsters with complex and specific educational needs.

The college already has some functional skills students at Brierley Hill studying catering and helping to run the refectory but the extra funding will enable special needs students to develop cookery and basic social skills to help them live independently.

Gill Coldicott, faculty director for foundation learning at B-Met, said: "The additional money will mean more students with specialist needs in the Black Country will learn how to live more independently.

"It will also help them develop enterprise and commercial skills, leading to increased confidence and progression into education and employment."

Dudley Council obtained £1,648,244 following three successful applications to the government's 16-19 Demographic Growth Capital Fund.

And although the money is from the 16-19 fund, it will continue to support young people with specialist needs up to the age of 25.