Official opening of new campus at Dumfries & Galloway College

The new £40 million campus of Dumfries & Galloway College was officially opened by the First Minister Alex Salmond.

The new building contains Scotland's first fully integrated Further and Higher Education Library with students from the West of Scotland University and Glasgow University sharing learning resources.

Mr Salmond hailed the new development saying that it was a significant investment in skills and education that would provide support for work to enable Scotland's economic recovery.

He said in a statement on Wednesday: "The £40 million investment in these state of the art learning facilities on Crichton Campus will benefit around 7,500 learners from across Dumfries and Galloway.

"In the current economic climate, the benefit of raising the standards and infrastructure of our further and higher education institutions is paramount.

"Dumfries and Galloway College is meeting the challenges of the economic downturn by strengthening its ability to respond to changing demand through providing more distance learning and by creating a knowledge transfer 'hub' at the Crichton Campus with its academic partners."

He added: "This new campus is a great asset for the Dumfries and Galloway area. I am confident that students from near and far will enjoy the learning experience this impressive new facility offers."

The new college was built with funding from the Scottish Funding Council and the European Development Fund.

An additional donation of £1.5 million was given by the Crichton Foundation for the construction of the college's reading room.

Dumfries & Galloway College provided £7.7 million from the proceeds of the sale of former college sites.