WORK has begun to transform one of Dewsbury’s most famous landmarks.
The £11.1m project to convert Pioneer House into a new campus for Kirklees College is part of an £18.5m investment to develop the Dewsbury Learning Quarter, which includes the Pioneer and the college’s second new site across the ring road at the old Safeway site.
Funding for the Pioneer project has come from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growth Fund.
Coun Peter McBride, Cabinet member for place said: “Bringing Pioneer House back into use as a college for the further education of our local young people feels fitting.
“This is a building that was developed to deliver the Dewsbury Pioneers’ idealism and vision of a better social order.
“Like with the original co-operative, the success of the scheme is dependent on partners working together.
“Our aim is to redevelop the building so that it is fit for future generations to use for many years to come.
“We will also look to maintain some of the rich history of the building.
“I believe this work marks the start of a new period of regeneration for North Kirklees and the opportunity for renewed growth and prosperity.”
Stakeholders in the project recently had the chance to look around the building and learn more about its history, which in the past featured a ballroom, banking hall and luxurious shops.
Kirklees College vice principal Melanie Brooke said: “We are excited by the prospect of being at the heart of the transformation plans for Dewsbury.
“The £18.5m investment in education facilities through the development of Dewsbury Learning Quarter will mean we are able to provide fantastic opportunities for students, employers and apprentices in this area in a more accessible town centre location.
“It will provide the college with a chance to redefine and build on its offer to meet the needs of local businesses, school-leavers and the wider community.”