Work starts this month on a world class outdoor education and training centre in Exeter. The £5.6 million for the project is the biggest single sum ever to be allocated from the proceeds of the sale of Exeter Airport.
Regional and City Airports (RCA), a company backed by both the investment expertise and infrastructure development skills of Balfour Beatty, officially purchased the airport from Devon County Council for £60 million on 5 January 2007.
The centre, at Haven Banks on the canal basin, will be built and paid for by Devon County Council and, in a pioneering partnership, it will be run with Exeter College on a day-to-day basis. The special ground-breaking ceremony will be held at the site at 10.30am on Monday 20 February and the centre is due to be completed in April 2013.
The new development will replace the outdated existing activity centre on the Quay that currently provides outdoor education courses for more than 25,000 young people a year. The courses include sailing, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, climbing, caving, orienteering, archery, raft building and team building. The new centre will provide a contemporary hub for outdoor adventure activities for young people and adults from Exeter and Devon and across the region.
Devon County Council leader John Hart said: “This is another major investment in Exeter by Devon County Council which will only serve to boost the economy of the city. The new centre will provide 21st century facilities for a wide range of activities for both young people and adults in the growing sector of adventure pursuits.”
The new centre will offer an innovative approach to education and training, with provision that will encompass the individual needs of a wide range of students, including those who are currently disengaged from education through to professionals undertaking training and development in leadership and management.