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Student numbers to double

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A MULTI-MILLION pound investment package looks set to help the Barony campus, near Parkgate, Dumfries expand further as a rural centre of educational excellence.

In the coming years, the 260 hectare estate, part of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), could see the current 300 student roll double.

Dumfriesshire MP David Mundell was briefed on the latest developments on a tour of the site hosted by Professor Nick Sparks, Dean of SRUC’s South and West Faculty. More than £30 million investment will potentially be needed at the long-established campus over five years to roll out the blueprint which brings together teaching, learning, research, consultancy and other activities. The Scottish Funding Council has examined the business case for the current proposals and there are also hopes of additional expansion supported through the Borderlands Growth Deal. Professor Sparks explained that students, both living on and off campus, were drawn from the region and across the UK and Irish Republic with a wide range of courses offered, some up to degree level. The development and modernisation programme, he revealed, would make the Barony an even better place to study, work and will provide additional opportunities to broaden services and courses.

Professor Sparks said: “It is a very exciting time for us as we make even greater use of the space and facilities we have.”

The local MP was greatly impressed by everything he saw during his latest tour, which included the working dairy unit, engineering, forestry, agriculture, engineering and veterinary nursing departments. He also viewed the South of Scotland Wildlife Hospital, run by an independent charity based in the college grounds. Mr Mundell said: “The Barony has always been a great asset to the region and it is encouraging that the even greater potential it offers has been recognised. The expansion plans are a shot in the arm for the Dumfriesshire part of my constituency.”

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