A BUILDING firm has started £3m work to expand a North-East college and double student numbers.

Surgo Construction is creating an extension at Middlesbrough College's MC6 Sixth Form Centre.

Bosses say the work will allow the college to take on an extra 500 students and increase its A-level courses.

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The extension is due to be finished in August and is part of a wider £20m investment, which includes a £12m science, technology, engineering and maths centre, £3.5m work to increase engineering and health and social care space, and a £1.5m eco-house to promote low carbon living.

The contract is another boost for Newcastle-based Surgo, who late last year revealed deals worth £9m to work at Durham University as well as the Royal Grammar School and Sacred Heart Catholic High School, both in Newcastle.

Jeff Alexander, Surgo Construction director, said: “We are delighted to be working with Middlesbrough College on the construction of its new facility, and look forward to delivering a first-class building.”

Zoe Lewis, Middlesbrough College's principal and chief executive, said the new building would help give more local youngsters the chance to study and find a career.

She said: “The project means we can increase the number of A-Levels on offer, accommodate more students, and further boost the already fantastic facilities on offer.

“We’ve seen a remarkable increase in the number of applications and this extension shows the level of commitment we have in delivering first class A-Levels courses for students across the Tees Valley.

“We are determined to do everything to play a key role in generating jobs and prosperity.”