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The Southwell Building at City College Norwich HERO

Farewell to the Southwell Building

12th July 2019 – Tags: Digi-Tech Factory, digital skills

The demolition of a former student accommodation block, the Southwell Building, will begin on Monday 15th July, as City College Norwich continues preparations for a £9.1m building focused on skills for the digital industries.  

Opened as Southwell Lodge in 1972, the building originally served as a hall of residence for 270 students.  It was used by students of Norwich School of Art, as well as those attending City College.

Southwell Lodge stopped being used as student accommodation in the mid- to late 2000s, and in recent years the building has instead provided office space for teaching and support staff.  It has also served as a second reception area for the college’s busy campus. 

Among its more unusual uses, the Southwell Building has been home to a music recording studio for a student-run media production company, and in 2015 it was taken over by zombies when the college’s dance, media production and media make-up students filmed a Halloween dance there. 

City College Norwich unveiled plans for The Digi-Tech Factory in March, when it was announced that the college had been awarded £6.1m by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for the project on its Ipswich Road campus.  

Designed by Coffey Architects in collaboration with Pro:works, The Digi-Tech Factory will bring together all the college’s digital skills provision into a single, purpose built-space with industry-standard facilities. 

The new facility will enable the college to significantly increase the number of students and apprentices on digital skills courses, an area that has been identified as a key skills priority locally and nationally. 

An application for planning permission for The Digi-Tech Factory has now been submitted to Norwich City Council. 

Subject to planning approval, it is planned that The Digi-Tech Factory will open during the 2020-21 academic year - the same year that City College Norwich will become one of the first colleges in the country to offer the new Digital Skills T-Level.

Corrienne Peasgood, Principal, City College Norwich, said:

“The Southwell Building holds a lot of memories for students and staff, past and present, whether it served as their student residence or place of work. 

“It’s been more than a decade since the Southwell Building was used for its original purpose as student accommodation.  As a college we need facilities that are modern, fit for purpose, and set up for teaching the skills needed in today’s digital world and into the future. 

“Thanks to the funding we have been awarded by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, we are ready to make a reality of our exciting plans for an inspirational, purpose-built facility for digital skills.”