Work begins on Tameside’s joint public service centre
Friday 9th December 2016 @ 07:41 by Adam Higgins
Ashton Business Community News

Construction of Tameside’s joint public service centre formally began on Tuesday with a steel-signing ceremony at the central Ashton site.

The building, which Tameside Council will share with Tameside College is the culmination of the Vision Tameside project and replaces TAC, the authority’s demolished administrative complex.

Tameside Council’s executive leader, Cllr Kieran Quinn, attended the ceremony at which he, Tameside College principal Jackie Moores, and college governors John Lyne and Joan Ryan wrote commemorative messages and signed a steel beam.

Cllr Quinn said: “The deteriorating condition of the old TAC complex, which was quickly built 35 years ago, meant it was increasingly expensive to operate.

“It would have cost around £4 million to bring up to standard, and it had become far too big for the number of staff we now employ.

“It was simply not fit for purpose in the context of modern working practices and council service delivery.

“Our new centre, which we will share with Tameside College, will be much cheaper to maintain. When you add in consolidation and the re-use of other buildings, it will save us almost £55 million over the next 30 years. It’s a 21st century building for a 21st century authority.”

Jackie Moores added: “After the new Clarendon College, and the advanced technologies centre at Beaufort Road, we are really looking forward to the completion of the joint public service centre which Tameside College will share with the council.

“All three buildings will offer exciting opportunities for students from all parts of the borough to study courses in state-of-the-art facilities.”

The installation of 473 reinforced concrete piles began several weeks ago. The beam that was signed is part of a steel frame weighing 1,500 tonnes. TAC’s foundations have been crushed to form a platform for the piling rig, and as a formation level for the building work. This saves on material costs and reduces vehicle movements.

At around 22 metres (72ft) the new centre will be roughly the same height as TAC and a little taller than the neighbouring Victorian town hall and water board building.

However, it will be significantly smaller in terms of space, and will be energy efficient. Solar panels are an integral feature of the roof.

Tameside College Construction and Building Services students are also being given the opportunity to carry out work experience on the site of the new Tameside College building in Ashton town centre.

The first phase of the work experience with Carillion, will see general construction students, Lewis Marsden, Jake Watson and Connor Jackson complete a range of ground work, in preparation for the build to begin.

During the course of the build, a number of students will take part in the project in areas including: scaffolding, electrical installation, plumbing, tiling, decorators and more. Each student will complete two weeks’ work experience.

Carl Shaw, curriculum leader for construction and building services at Tameside College, said: “It is great that our students get to work alongside some of the most experienced trades people and work on site with Carillion during the first stage of the college’s new building.

“We always encourage students to take part in opportunities like this one as it is good for their CV.

“We also work with a range of companies to offer different experiences to our students and are always looking for companies to support our work experience programme.”

Clarendon College, phase one of the Vision Tameside project, opened in the autumn of 2015 and the advanced technologies centre at Tameside College’s Beaufort Road campus, is now accepting its first students.

The new joint service centre – the second phase – will be open in 2018.