A MULTI-MILLION pound new learning centre in Flintshire has been unveiled.

Leighton Andrews, Welsh minister for children and education, cut the ribbon on the Eco-friendly Learning Centre at the Northop campus of Deeside College.

The two-storey building will provide multimedia equipment for students studying land-based courses like animal care, equine, floristry and horticulture.

The Welsh Assembly has ploughed more than £2 million into the centre, which has been built using energy saving materials.

Speaking at the launch, Leighton Andrews said: “This new centre will enhance teaching and learning in the area and create a world-class education and skills facility.

“I’m delighted that the Welsh Assembly Government has been able to provide £2.5 million of funding for the college which is dedicated to land-based education.”

College principal David Jones added: “The learning centre will support students progressing to work in the land-based sector which is a key area for economic development in the North Wales region and focus at our Northop College site.”

Animal care student Daniel Owen, from Holywell, was one of the first to test the new facilities.

The 18-year-old said: “The new learning centre is brilliant. It was great to come for my first day at college and be welcomed into a brand new building with all the latest technology in it.”

Ground source heat pumps buried beneath the building will extract heat from the ground in order to warm water to heat the building.

Natural light and ventilation will be maximised with the use of sun tubes and wind catchers and the landscaping is designed to support bio diversity.

It is the first building to have been completed to support land-based education after the former Welsh College of Horticulture became part of Deeside College following a merger in August 2009.

Northop College, as it is now known, is part of the larger group that includes Deeside College in Connah’s Quay, Coleg Llysfasi in Ruthin and Wrexham Training.