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Cleveland College of Art and Design’s (CCAD) new multi-million teaching facility has been officially opened by Professor Madeleine Atkins CBE, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the organisation which funds and regulates universities and higher education colleges in England.

The leading northern arts school unveiled its state-of-the-art building – 1 Church Street – at an opening ceremony attended by Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen, local dignitaries and the College Board of Governors, alongside partners and developers involved in the £11million project.

Professor Atkins, who was the former Pro-Vice Chancellor of University of Newcastle and Vice-Chancellor of Coventry University, welcomed the impressive development of the university-level specialist art and design college.

Professor Atkins said: “Cleveland College of Art and Design is a key player in the regeneration of Hartlepool and these exciting new teaching facilities here at 1 Church Street are further proof of this important role.

“For the past three years CCAD has had the best graduate employability of any specialist art and design provider in the UK at 96.7 percent, the result of the College’s impressive strategic focus on preparing students for creative careers.

“No 1 Church Street is a great campus for its specialist resources and dedicated studio spaces, and CCAD is up there with the very best of the higher education institutions in the country. Here in this building we see even more key evidence of the college anchoring itself within Hartlepool and the Church St facilities are absolutely fantastic.

“We recognise this ‘jewel’ of a college in creating a major hub for the creative industries, and I would like to congratulate everyone at CCAD on the continued success led by the Principal Martin Raby and his senior team.”

The new building at No 1 Church Street provides 45,000 sq. ft. of teaching and administration space for degree courses such as Fine Art, Production Design for Stage and Screen, Textiles and Surface Design, Contemporary Textile Products, Photographic Practice (with Moving Image) and Film, TV and Theatre Production

Funded by the Tees Valley Combined Authority, the campus facilities include flexible studio space, two seven-metre double-height studios for photography and TV or film work, a refectory area and galley, ensuring students can access the highest level of creative industry education in the north east and across the UK for many years to come.

Ben Houchen, Tees Valley Mayor said: “CCAD has been at the heart of our creative economy for generations, and has equipped thousands of people from our region to make a difference in the arts and industry. This significant investment by the Combined Authority in this state-of-the-art facility will provide opportunities for young people in Hartlepool and the wider areas for years to come, as well as securing Tees Valley’s reputation as a centre of creativity recognised throughout the UK.”

Dr Martin Raby, Principal, Cleveland College of Art and Design, said: “I am most grateful for the support of the Tees Valley Combined Authority and Hartlepool Borough Council, without which this project would not have been possible. Our new building offers excellent facilities, allowing our undergraduates to excel and providing a sound foundation for their careers in the creative industries.

“We would like to thank Professor Atkins for her visit today, which is a very tangible sign of the value of our work here and recognition for our staff and students. The opening the 1 Church Street is one more step in our continuing journey to build a creative community here in Hartlepool and the wider Tees Valley for students, present and future.”

CCAD was recently awarded Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework in recognition of its outstanding quality of teaching at its university-level campus in Hartlepool, making it the top art school in the UK.

Professor Atkins added: “I am delighted that Cleveland College of Art and Design achieved a gold award in the recent national assessment of teaching excellence.  This award reflects the consistently outstanding outcomes achieved by its students from all backgrounds and a satisfaction rating of over 90 percent.”

CCAD is also redeveloping its current Church Square facilities which will see the main building on Church Square develop into a library and lecture theatre. The heritage Leadbitter, Archive and Municipal buildings, which were acquired from Hartlepool Borough Council in 2010 and 2011, will remain as schools for degree courses such as Body Contour Fashion, Costume Interpretation with Design, Illustration for Commercial Application and Graphic Design.

Issued by Cleveland College of Art and Design.