WORK began this week on a £9M scheme to give Accrington and Rossendale College some of the best facilities in the country.
Two new buildings on the Sandy Lane campus are expected to be completed by summer 2007.
One, connected to the current higher education building, will cater for 16-to-18-year-olds studying vocational subjects such as business, travel, health and care services, and will house a high-tech IT centre and a learning resou-rces centre. It should be ready by Easter 2006.
The second will introduce up-to-date facilities for the health and beauty department as well as a purpose-built theatre, TV studio, dance studio and recording studio for music and performing arts students.
Existing buildings will also be completely refurbished and the whole complex made accessible to the disabled.
The changes mean the Rawtenstall site will close in 2007 and discussions about providing transport to Accrington are already taking place.
Vice-principal Stephen Carlisle said: "Our aim is to create the best facilities for students from Hyndburn and Rossendale so they don't have to travel far to receive excellent education.
"Our college will mirror a realistic working environment and students will leave here ready to enter the workplace with the best skills and knowledge."
Funding for the project has come from three sources.
The college has secured 35 per cent of the total budget from the Learning and Skills Council.
A substantial amount of money will be raised from the sale of the Rawtenstall site and the college has taken out a bank loan for the remainder.
Mr Carlisle added: "The target is to increase the number of full-time 16-to-18-year-old students, and with everybody on the same site it should create a unified environment.
"This is probably the most significant investment project Hyndburn has had, and the focus is purely on providing excellence on the doorstep for youngsters from the borough."