LYNN’S College of West Anglia may close its main building next year to clear asbestos and carry out refurbishments.
The college plans to continue running all its courses and hopes to accommodate the majority of lectures within other buildings on its Tennyson Avenue site.
But it is also investigating alternative sites including the former Alderman Jackson School, in Marsh Lane, Gaywood.
News of the disruption came as it emerged students in degree level courses at the college will be facing fees of £8,300 a year from 2012 – a figure heading toward the maximum universities can charge.
College spokesman Paul O’Shea said: “The areas which contain asbestos are not accessible to students and the college is now working closely with the HSE and a specialist company to plan for the safe removal of the asbestos in the Tower Block.
“This work is likely to start at the end of the current academic year and our current understanding is that it will take several weeks to complete.
“The college is also considering the option of using this opportunity to carry out a range of other refurbishment work to the Tower Block to deliver suitable accommodation for the future.
“This is likely to involve closing the building during the next academic year and management are now looking at options for relocating the activities that would normally take place there.”
Asbestos – a once popular building material found in many old buildings but now known to cause health problems – has been found in the ducts and risers of the Tower Block, Mr O’Shea said.
The building is the largest of seven on the Lynn campus where around 1,500 students are taught daily.
It had been a long held plan to move the Lynn campus to the Nar Ouse Redevelopment Area in South Lynn but the college was forced to abandon that plan when funding fell through.
Around 90 per cent of the college’s students are studying further education and vocational courses with the remaining 350 – 400 completing higher education courses in conjunction with Anglia Ruskin University.
From September 2012 universities can charge £6,000 to £9,000 for courses and Anglia Ruskin has proposed an annual fee of £8,300, which is due to be approved in July. Foundation degrees and HND courses will cost £7,500 a year.