COLLEGE STATUS IS STILL TO BE DECIDED

THERE are no ‘current’ plans to close the Ballymoney campus of the Northern Regional College (NRC) nor to relocate courses elsewhere, a spokesperson said.

The statement from the College came as the start of the new term has refocused minds on the future of the facility in Ballymoney.

There was anger in Ballymoney last year when it emerged one option is the closure of the Ballymoney campus and the current Coleraine building to be replaced by one new building in Coleraine.

But the future of the Ballymoney campus remains undecided.

Campaigners fighting to retain the Ballymoney campus say if it goes it will leave a huge void in the town and hit the local economy by the loss of the spending power on local streets by staff and students.

Despite no ‘current’ closure plans, the College spokesman confirmed they are still looking at the future of the local establishment and will be preparing an economic appraisal.

On Monday there was renewed speculation about the latest position regarding the future of the Ballymoney site following meetings with staff in recent days.

When the Times contacted the College, a spokesperson said: “There are no current plans to close the Ballymoney campus nor to relocate courses elsewhere.

“As part of the estates planning process, Northern Regional College (NRC) has prepared a Strategic Outline Case which has been accepted by the Department for Employment and Learning.

“The Outline Case addresses deficiencies in existing premises and facilities and demonstrates that there is a priority requirement for a significant investment in the Estates infrastructure in the Ballymoney/Coleraine area. “Further to this Strategic Outline Case, the College is in the process of preparing a detailed Outline Business Case which will identify specific estates options for the Ballymoney/Coleraine area. The College will be preparing an Economic Appraisal in conjunction with this process.”