Somerset College of Arts and Technology
Somerset College is a community college based in Taunton, in the county of Somerset, England. It was formed in 1974 after the merger of Somerset College of Art and Taunton Technical College. The college provides further and higher education courses, as well as a variety of part-time courses for adult learners. Qualifications offered include NVQ, BTEC First Diploma, BTEC National Diploma, GCSE, degrees and Foundation Degree.
The history of art, craft and design education in Taunton goes back to 1856 and the foundation of the art school in the wake of the 1851 Great Exhibition. This went on to become the Somerset College of Art. In 1898 a foundation stone of the Technical Institute was laid and in February 1900 the Institute was formally opened.
In 1956 work began on the present 15-acre (61,000 m2) site at Wellington Road, Taunton and by 1967 all departments were in situ. The College of Art relocated to an award winning building on the campus of the Somerset Technical College in the early 1970s and became the Somerset College of Arts and Technology.
In 2005 the circular, three story Atrium was opened, the latest phase of a £15 million redevelopment scheme. As well as incorporating a main reception and shopping mall area, information and guidance points, classrooms, and student common rooms, the Atrium houses the majority of the college’s Service Industries division.
Other developments have included a conference centre, nursery and a new Health and Social Care centre also completed in 2005.
Somerset College is organised into the following divisions:
- Arts & Design
- Service Industries (including sports, business, media make-up, hospitality & catering, public services, travel & tourism and hair & beauty)
- Social & Professional Studies
- Foundation Learning
The Genesis Project opened in 2006 and is based at Somerset College. It is a single story centre consisting of several pavilions built from environmentally friendly materials such as straw, timber, earth and clay.
The pavilions contain seminar rooms and lecture theatres with exhibition space promoting the very latest in sustainable technology, along with a construction area where visitors can see practical demonstrations of sustainable construction techniques.