Devon’s first Hi Tech & Digital Centre shortlisted for RICS Social Impact Award

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South Devon College’s Hi Tech & Digital Centre has been shortlisted for the coveted RICS Social Impact Award.

RICS has shortlisted a range of construction projects across the United Kingdom, celebrating their role in transforming communities and people’s everyday lives.

The awards are divided into nine categories to include the best examples of development in the commercial, education, healthcare, heritage, infrastructure, land & rural, leisure, residential and student accommodation sectors – with an overall winner also due to be announced.

Each shortlisted project will be put to the vote by regional panels of RICS members – qualified professionals who work in the development sector, over the coming weeks. A final list of schemes will then go to the national grand finale.

Laurence Frewin, Principal and CEO of South Devon College, said: “It’s fantastic that the vision behind the Hi Tech & Digital Centre is being recognised by RICS for the impact it has on our community. Having only been open since September 2019, it has already played a significant role in students’ studies, achievements, and creativity, as well as being the home for a range of events including English Riviera Film Festival. The College has many more ambitious and exciting plans for this new, exciting and world class facility to meet the needs of our students, local and regional communities and supporting our mission to ‘inspire our community through learning for all’.”

A UK grand final will be held later in September for those successfully nominated from each region – with property expert David Brooks Wilson leading a panel of guest judges to select those projects worthy of the top award.

David Brooks Wilson said: “This year’s shortlists show the power of built environment professionals to make a lasting contribution to the bigger picture, take on real responsibility for the impact of their work and inspire the next generation of surveyors through teamwork and fresh thinking.”

The innovative £17 million Hi Tech & Digital Centre provides a visionary facility for further education and training support towards the ever-expanding hi-tech, manufacturing, digital and creative sectors across Torbay, South Devon and wider regions. The Centre aims to inspire the local community by showcasing the latest in world class technology and equipment. The interior layout has been designed to follow cutting edge principles in future proofing an outstanding teaching and learning environment. Great emphasis is being placed on flexibility of space, the importance and need for social and collaborative study areas and layouts of rooms which will mirror workplace processes and practice.

The three-storey building, designed by talented architects from LHC Design, includes a link connection to the main building, with a further 15 dedicated work spaces for individual business units as well as two large, open plan collaboration zones, in addition to specialist computing, engineering, design facilities and the 100 seater screening suite.

With the facilities available within the Hi Tech & Digital Centre for training and education, and the focus on supporting the rapidly expanding sector in Torbay and surrounding areas, it’s expected that more talented individuals will find the opportunity to explore successes like this in a range of different sectors.

The Hi Tech & Digital Centre (HTDC) combines £8.13m from the Heart of the South West LEP’s Growth Deal funding from the Heart of the South West LEP, as well as funding support from European Regional Development Fund, Higher Education Funding Council for England, Garfield Weston Foundation, Torbay Council, South Devon College and private sector investment. It will be a flagship facility, alongside other Institutes of Technology developments in the country.