Construction of a new £11 million college sports and business campus is set to begin this summer after planning permission was secured.
The new three-storey facility will be built on empty land next to Walsall College’s existing Wisemore Campus on the edge of Walsall Town Centre and is expected to open in September 2015.
It is the latest piece of Walsall £400 Gigaport initiative under which a 23 hectare business and office corridor is being created through the town - designed to attract new industries and create 3,000 jobs.
The new three storey campus includes a business incubation centre and top quality sports facilities which will be open to the public as well as students.
Director of operations and resources at Walsall College Deb Rajania said: “We are delighted to receive planning permission from Walsall Council which represents the final go ahead in terms of the Walsall Business and Sports Hub, which is the next phase of our learning campus development.
“We are also really pleased that the development has attracted the support of both the general public and elected council members, who appreciate and understand the benefits this will bring to both our students and the wider Walsall community.
“The College was rated as outstanding by Ofsted in February 2013 and we are committed to going beyond outstanding by continuing to support the regeneration of Walsall with the development of employability and enterprise skills. It is full steam ahead now with our plans and work is expected to start on site during the summer holidays.”
Among the sports facilities are a sports hall with badminton courts to Sport England standards, dance and fitness studios, a sports training and injury clinic, spa facilities, a fine dining restaurant, car park and a team-building area with high rope course.
Walsall council deputy leader Adrian Andrew said: “This is another key milestone for the project and with planning consent under its belt; we are looking forward to work starting on the site later this year.
“The Council has supported the College throughout the planning stage and we recognise this is another fantastic investment in Walsall.
“This centre has the potential to create scores of job opportunities in the borough, as well as support start-up businesses and enterprise projects, a top priority for this council.”
At the other end of the town centre the £21 million redevelopment of the Old Square shopping centre, backed by Primark and Co-op, is underway, ready for completion in 2015.