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University receives £2.3m boost

English Partnerships has committed a further £2.1 million for the refurbishment of the former Fennemores offices in Central Milton Keynes, on top of the £4.8 million allocated earlier this year for the acquisition of the building in Silbury Boulevard.

The South East England Development Agency has granted £248,000 towards the cost of equipping the centre. Milto Keynes College will lead the initiative and will be working with English Partnerships to project manage the refurbishment process.

EP regional director John Lewis said: "We are delighted to assist in bringing a new University Centre to the city. It is a fantastic opportunity for Milton Keynes and we look forward to working with our partners to progress plans for the future."

Rob Badcock (pictured), principal and chief executive of Milton Keynes College, added: "This is great news for the students of Milton Keynes present and future. While the schedule is challenging, the college aims to open the University Centre Milton Keynes in September 2008."

Milton Keynes Partnership is working with SEEDA, Milton Keynes Council and the Milton Keynes Economy and Learning Partnership to develop the strategic direction of higher education in the city. This includes establishing a Higher Education Strategic Development Board.

The immediate aim of the new University Centre in Milton Keynes is to establish a focus for higher education activity within the city.

A spokesman for Milton Keynes Partnership said: "At this stage, our priority is to develop and grow the centre in order to attract additional funds from the Higher Education Funding Council for England and other sources.

"The University Centre is an interim phase of a longer-term project where the provision of higher education activity will grow over time to meet the needs of the expanding Milton Keynes community, establish strong links with local business and undoubtedly outgrow the premises."

Funding from the Milton Keynes Tariff – where developers pay a fixed sum on property schemes towards infrastructure – would be made available as the university expanded, the Milton Keynes Partnership spokesman added.

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