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Lord Lieutenant of Somerset officially opens new Visual Arts and IT centre

Richard Huish College marked the official opening of the Maple building on Wednesday 11th April, with a formal celebration and ribbon cutting by the Lord Lieutenant of Somerset, Mrs Annie Maw.

The building, which cost £3 million pounds, opened to students in November 2017 and has been fully equipped with state-of-the-art facilities including an extensive and purpose designed Art studio, Apple Mac Suite for the specialist teaching of Graphic Design and multiple classrooms that house IT, Computing and Sociology.

Joining the official opening celebration were Huish staff, Governors and special guests including the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Catherine Herbert, MP for Taunton Deane, Rebecca Pow and many local business people from the arts and education industries.

After welcoming guests, Principal John Abbott thanked everybody for their support and said, “Over the last 5 years Huish students have benefited from over £10 million of capital investment into this site, with the Maple building becoming the fifth new building we have completed. We have built significantly improved and enlarged social and café spaces, a new student accommodation block, and a new sports hall, and now a new building that houses significantly improved visual art and IT teaching spaces. I am delighted that we are able to continue to invest in improving our specialist resources and in doing so promote a broader positive mental health and sustain or develop a lifelong interest in the arts, music or sport.”

After the official ribbon cutting Annie Maw congratulated the College on the completion of these innovative facilities and echoed John’s words commenting, “I deeply agree with the support Huish provides for students within the creative industries. I believe arts are another language and form of communication and should be encouraged and celebrated, whether this is through art, graphic design, music or acting. I’m excited to be here and feel privileged to open this astonishing new facility.”

Alistair Tudor, Head of Chamber Services at Somerset Chamber of Commerce, and Andrew Hanson, Somerset Education Business Partnership Manager, attended the event.

Alistair commented, “It’s great to see more expansion going on within Further Education in Somerset.  This is a fantastic facility and it’s great to see investment into the Arts as well as the core subjects.  I’m sure this building, and the music block once complete will be fantastic additions to the colleges teaching provision”.

Andrew commented, “The Maple Block investment shows clearly Richard Huish College’s intention to prepare students well for the world of work, as the new facilities and equipment will enable young people to develop truly applied skills”.

Having completed this build ahead of schedule, building contractors Halsall are already making steady progress on the next development, a new home for Music, which is due to open in Autumn 2018, containing two new recording spaces along with other specialist music teaching and performance spaces.


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