Overbury has completed the £1 million transformation of an Arts and Design Centre at Dudley College of Technology that will provide dedicated teaching and learning facilities for students taking new T Level qualifications.

Overbury has reinvented the three-storey building in Venture Way, Brierley Hill as part of a project that was delivered during the national coronavirus lockdown and localised restrictions.

The refurbished facility will provide a contemporary home for the region’s budding IT, design and gaming professionals, who will be the first to embark on the new T Level courses, a mixture of classroom learning and 'on-the-job' experience.

Overbury has created a series of open plan and collaborative workspaces that will enhance student experience across all three floors, comprising new VR, computer suites for games design and a purpose built TV studio and motion capture suite.

The refurbishment includes a substantial mechanical and electrical fit out, with the installation of new access controlled security, power-saving LED lighting, ceilings and air conditioning, as well as new desktop power facilities and AV. The sustainable design includes the addition of glass panels to doors to maximise natural daylight, with new decoration and flooring laid throughout.

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The 14-week refurbishment programme began in a live campus environment in the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic and was completed on budget and in time for the College’s delivery of new T Level qualifications at the start of the academic year.

Overbury was chosen to deliver the project following a competitive tendering process through the Pagabo Medium Works Framework. In addition to the main works, Overbury partnered with Social Profit Calculator to generate more than £1.85 million in social value through a range of social, economic and environmental initiatives, focused on local spend.

Neil Thomas, chief executive and principal, Dudley College of Technology, said: “We are really pleased to see the new digital facilities up and running. The College is one of the first in the country to be delivering the new digital T levels as part of the government agenda to drive excellence in technical education. This new facility will mean those students have the first class facilities they deserve to study these exciting new qualifications as well as providing much needed updating of our facilities for wider digital curriculum such as game design, networking, systems support, virtual reality and application development. We now have a facility that is fit for purpose in training the information technology professionals of the future and supporting the many employers in the region who need these skills.”

Sam Hunter, project and facilities manager, for Dudley Academies Trust, said: “When we awarded Overbury this project in the midst of a national lockdown, we were excited about the opportunity to work with them and anxious as to whether we would succeed in the timeframe, given budgetary and delivery constraints. Working alongside Overbury was harmony and I can honestly say that I have never been part of a more diligent, focused and determined partnership. Winning team work, collaboration and communication was at the forefront of every stage and collectively no problem was insurmountable. Health and safety was our highest priority at all times and quality was never compromised. We look forward to future opportunities to work together, creating aspirational environments for our learners.”

Overbury specialises in the fit out and refurbishment of higher and further education facilities. The contractor recently completed the fit out and refurbishment of two lecture theatres and an M&E and plant room at the University of Warwick’s Gibbet Hill building, as well as two phases of refurbishment at Stratford upon Avon College delivering a new entrance and learning space.

Dudley College of Technology is at the forefront of building a world class, technical education system and we’re extremely proud to play a part in realising that vision. Overbury has created an amazing teaching and learning space in time to welcome the first T Level learners this year, giving generations of young people a new choice after GCSEs. We’ve taken a really collaborative approach to the delivery of this project to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of everyone on site during extraordinary circumstances and we’ve worked with Pagabo and Social Profit Calculator to secure the best value from the public money being spent. It is especially pleasing to have delivered a high-quality building project that has supported the local community and invested in the regional economy during the pandemic.

Penelope Mitchell, Education and Public Sector Business Development Manager for Overbury

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