The transformation of Marton Hall’s former Victorian stable block in Stewart Park into a 21st century learning centre has been celebrated with the official opening of the newly named Askham Bryan College Middlesbrough campus.
The completion of the £3.5m renovation project of Central Lodge within Stewart Park was marked by Simon Clarke, MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, officially opening the centre at a ceremony attended by around 80 guests.
The restoration has been made possible by a £3.2m National Lottery grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The dynamic educational centre brings together students from across Teesside and beyond to study a range of further education subjects, including animal management, equine and foundation learning courses.
Catherine Dixon, chief executive of Askham Bryan College, said: “Our new Middlesbrough campus provides vibrant, state-of-the-art facilities for young people, enabling them to develop their work and life skills and lead successful careers doing what they want to do.
“It is also important that our students have a great time whilst at college and as our campus is in such a wonderful setting, we know our students will really enjoy their studies.
“I am also delighted that Mr Clarke has opened the campus as this emphasises its importance to the local community it serves.”
Councillor Tracy Harvey, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Environment and Commercial Services, said: “Stewart Park is a true jewel in Middlesbrough’s crown, and this important partnership with Askham Bryan has opened up an exciting new chapter in its history.
“This major Heritage Lottery Fund renovation project has transformed these wonderful buildings, ensuring their history and heritage will go on to inspire a sense of ambition and aspiration in both students and the community alike.
“The new College campus is already breathing new life into the park, securing its long-term future and bringing with it the priceless benefits of vocational training, job creation and economic regeneration.”
Built in 1858, Grade II listed Central Lodge has been completely revitalised with a new focus to ensure it remains a vibrant part of the community.
Once home to dozens of horses, carriages and stablemen, it now bustles with student life in the finest and most modern educational environment.
Stewart Park’s significance as the birthplace of Captain Cook and its rich history is celebrated through incorporating numerous artefacts and features from the original building.
The running of Central Lodge was taken over by the college from Middlesbrough Council in 2015.
Askham Bryan specialises in providing land-based courses from diplomas through to degree level. The main campus is at York but it also has centres at Penrith, Cumbria, Wakefield, Scarborough, and Saltaire with around 5,000 students studying a range of courses from engineering to health and social care and from floristry to sport.