MORE than 100 jobs could be created through the planned £34 million expansion of a college in York, the biggest development in its history.

Plans have been unveiled for a three-stage scheme at Askham Bryan College, which would allow it to accommodate almost 1,600 more students by the 2017/18 academic year.

The project includes a purpose-built animal management centre and an international-standard equine centre, aimed at making the facilities the best in the UK.

The college, which specialises in agriculture and land management courses, has submitted its proposals to City of York Council and a decision is expected in November.

The plans also include a polo field, improved farm buildings, new teaching areas, an accommodation block for 300 students and a glass roof over the site’s quad to provide a covered area for social events, conferences and celebrations.

An enhanced wildlife park would see the campus able to house more “exotic” animals, such as zebras, with college bosses saying this would give students wider animal experience and “an edge” in the job market.

The college has £6 million in place for the scheme’s first phase, the animal management centre, which is expected to open next September if planning permission is granted, and which would be open to the public outside term time.

The second stage includes the equine centre, college farm and quad roof, with £9.5 million needed for this work.

A funding bid is to be made shortly.

Once the overall project is complete, student numbers at the York campus are expected to rise from 2,939 to about 4,500, with 120 more teaching and support staff being employed.

Liz Philip, college chief executive and principal, said: “Askham Bryan College has an enviable reputation for providing first-class education, and our vision will enable us to offer this to far more students.

“We envisage our student numbers will increase substantially and we would also expect students from across a broader geographic area.”

Deputy principal Ian Harmer, whose remit covers finance and resources, said: “The college is now stronger financially than it has ever been and we want to have facilities which set out and meet our aspirations, and which make a statement about the college and how we see ourselves.”

The project has been designed by York-based DSP Architects.