Yesterday evening (3rd September) 400 people celebrated the grand opening of the purpose-built landmark college, DLD College London, which in Lambeth in the heart of London overlooking Westminster.
The prestigious college which had two campuses, one in Marylebone and one in Belgravia combined and relocated to the impressive, larger Westminster location and is ready to welcome the new influx of students this week for the 2015-2016 academic year.
Guests were given an insight into DLD College London through guest speakers. These included two alumni students, Baroness Pauline Perry the honorary president of DLD College London, the CEO of the Alpha Plus Group Julian Drinkall and the Principal of the college, Rachel Borland.
A brass band played to the visitors, including a piece composed by DLD’s own Peter Hopkins called Fanfare, while stunning canapés were presented to everyone and the college’s Ukulele Band performed their version of London’s Calling.
Michael Myint was a student in 2007 who is now a fully qualified dentist and senior house officer in Southampton. He told guests about his time at DLD: “I used to be a worrier but Lee Roberts, Vice Principal gave me the best advice when he told me not to be scared of the unknown. The college gave me confidence from an educational stand point and it taught me a lot of life skills which brought me to where I am today.”
Eno Mwamba, studied A-Level Economics, Politics and History during an 18 month course at DLD in 2010. He now has a prestigious position with Barclays as Summer Analyst, Wealth and Investment Management. He told guests: “DLD was one of the most joyful periods of my life. One thing that shocked me at DLD and made me who I am today came after I had some displeasing results in a lesson. The teacher then told me they expected more from me. The teachers had a higher expectation of me than I had of myself. That belief is how I have come to be where I am today.”
Baroness Perry then spoke to guests: “This is a new beginning, not just for the building but for the students. The most important building we do here is not in the bricks and glass, but the building we do for individual students’ lives. Without education we would not have a civilised society or this great city of London.”
Principal Rachel Borland said: “It was such a huge project and we are so excited to see it reach the end of this journey. We are looking forward to having everyone under one roof. DLD has had a family atmosphere since it opened in 1931 that is the spirit of DLD. A happy and homely atmosphere is at the heart of our college.”
The brand new state-of-the-art facility and 15 floor boarding house was unveiled to the public at 5pm with a media event, official opening ceremony and a behind the scenes tour that took place for guests to discover what the integral onsite accommodation for students is like.
The new premises boasts exceptional purpose-built education facilities in the basement and on the ground, mezzanine, first and second floors. These include six high specification laboratories, a creative arts and media faculty featuring art rooms, photography, drama, music and media suites, including a 100 plus seat theatre, almost 40 tutorial rooms and an open plan library, study and ICT facilities.
The new college is next to Waterloo Station and overlooks Westminster and the River Thames, with stunning views of The Shard, The Gherkin and St Paul’s Cathedral on the skyline to the east.
The contemporary en-suite accommodation sits above the main college with 200 fully equipped and secure rooms divided by gender and age. All students and staff have access to the refectory for breakfast, lunch and dinner which is also a multifunctional space for eating, studying and socialising with access to a Starbucks cafe.
DLD College London has a diverse subject offering with a wide range of choices which ensures every individual student’s needs are met. For the 2015-2016 intake there will be 34 different A-Level subjects, a range of GCSE subjects and three BTEC pathways.
The college is academically non-selective and achieved 98% A-Level pass rate in 2015 with the percentage of students receiving A*-C grades at 81%.
Students are drawn to DLD College London for many things but one important attraction is the strong reputation of the tutors. They are all graduate specialists, some being text book authors or examiners and a high proportion are Oxbridge educated and holders of Postgraduate degrees.
The building has been a source of education from its beginning as 46 apprentices will have been trained on site once the finishing touches are made. Over two million man hours have gone into building work with 600 people on site per day.
The 32,000m2 steel and glass structure – a glistening, crystalline landmark office building – is using the most innovative techniques to ensure it is a highly energy efficient building and it has been from day one. 99% of waste from the site has been recycled and diverted from Land Fill and 750,000 m3 of water has been stored in the basement for the cold water and sprinklers.
3,000 panels which make up the curves were made in Slovenia, painted in Austria and curved in Germany, before being transported to England, so even the surface of the building is cultured. The double-skin, glass façade enables the building to conform to the latest sustainability standards. It will incorporate renewable power sources to minimise energy consumption, through the use of proven technologies, both in construction and operational performance.
The Westminster Bridge Road landmark has 1,700 tonnes of structural steel, 20 miles of underfloor heating pipe buried away, nine miles of piles holding up the building, 3,000 miles of copper pipe running through, 20,000 lights and 200 air condition fan coil units in the college, ensuring it is a sturdy structure which will stand proud in Westminster for centuries to come.