Southern Regional College has issued reassurances over the environmental impact of its new campus at Craigavon Lakes.
The campus will be located next to the existing Watersports Centre (set to be replaced by the new leisure centre) and close to the Civic Centre and Rushmere Shopping Centre.
It is one of three new campuses being developed by the College with new campus buildings also planned for Armagh City and Banbridge.
The Armagh and Banbridge projects will be built on their existing sites, while the Craigavon development will replace the Lurgan and Portadown campuses with a single new campus in Craigavon.
The new campus is scheduled for completion in 2020.
According to a college spokesperson: “The new campus has been sympathetically and sensitively designed to work in harmony with the local environment and its habitats, ensuring that local residents and park users continue to have access to and enjoy the existing benefits which the area brings.
“A full environmental impact assessment has been carried out to establish the density and habitats of the wildlife within the area. Southern Regional College is committed to taking a proactive and comprehensive approach to enhance the eco-systems and promote the development of wildlife in the area.
“As such, a Habitat Creation Plan has been developed in conjunction with local planning authority and the Natural Environmental Division to enhance the environment of the South Lake Area.
“This has highlighted an area to be conserved for an improved quality habitat created in direct proximity to the campus.
“All existing pedestrian footways and cycle ways will be maintained to ensure their continued access by the public who use the area for recreational purposes. New mountain bikes trials have been proposed in consultation with the local council.”
The College will be holding a number of engagement events at local venues in the area which will provide opportunities for the local community to find out more about the proposed build project and answer any concerns they may have.
Mr Brian Doran, Chief Executive at Southern Regional College said: “The development of a single site campus located in central Craigavon offers a fantastic opportunity to transform education provision across the region.
“The investment of over £30m in a new community based campus building is essential if we are to continue to meet the future skills needs of local people, business and industry and to address the significant levels of social exclusion and youth unemployment in the region.
“The opportunities for young people in the Craigavon area will be assured for future generations.
“I fully recognise that there may be some concerns in regard to locating the college campus in an area next to the South Lake and welcome the opportunity to engage with all stakeholders through the community consultation process.
“The new build has been sympathetically and sensitively designed to work in harmony with the local environment and its habitats and I can assure the wider community that the College will work with all interested parties to address concerns in relation to the location and design of the campus building.”
Southern Regional College and the Department for the Economy are set to invest £95 million across the local Council area with the construction of three new campuses by 2020.