The rebuild of York College's Sim Balk Lane campus, at the south western gateway to the city, is growing daily and is on course to open to students in September 2007.

Work began at the college last October, when Balfour Beatty Construction Ltd was awarded the contract.

Initially, there was a hold up while investigations were carried out to see if bats were roosting in the old sports hall building, but the findings were inconclusive and work got back on track.

Since then work has come on a long way with the completion of much of the structure of the buildings and an all weather pitch, which is already being used by the college and will eventually be available to the community.

The building project is one of the biggest of its kind in the country, with an anticipated completion date of mid-July 2007 - opening to students at for start of the autumn term.

At present, all students are located on the college's Tadcaster Road site, which has had more than £1 million spent on a refurbishment programme in order to comfortably accommodate all learners during the two-year building period.

The new college building will be financed by the sale of the Tadcaster Road site, which is to be used for housing, plus a major grant from the Learning And Skills Council (LSC), and significant funding from York College itself. Deputy principal Anne Tyrrell said she was pleased with the way work was progressing.

She said: "The rooves will be going on in the New Year and things are moving quickly now. The external appearance of the building will change over the next few months and people will be able to get an impression of what the buildings are going to look like.

"Once open the buildings will have a real wow' factor and we believe it will contain superb facilities for the students of York and North Yorkshire."

Mrs Tyrell said the college was currently helping to retrain people who losing their jobs after announcements of job cuts at Nestl, British Sugar and Norwich Union and this would continue when the new buildings open.

Mrs Tyrell said: "A recent open evening for children in Year 10 at local schools was extremely well attended.

"They got to see the plans and they were all very enthusiastic, because they will be the first students using the building.

"We are looking forward to welcoming so many students into the college."