Cirencester College staff and students celebrated its new £700,000 animal centre this morning with a 'topping out' ceremony.

The centre is now in the final stages of construction and is due to open for students in September 2019.

Principal Jim Grant said: “The new building is a fantastic addition for our animal management students particularly those joining us in September.

"The students will have the benefit of the most up-to-date facilities to help them advance their knowledge and skills and to progress onto university and a successful career.”

The animal centre is being fitted out with a specialist climate controlled reptile room, a dedicated mammal room and extra teaching space.

it will be surrounded by its own outdoor facilities where students will work with some of the small mammals.

A special rain water collection system is also being installed for some of the college's most sensitive species, like the endangered white claw crayfish.

The building has been designed to be sympathetic with the Cotswold landscape, including the specially sourced larch cladding covering the building.

It will also be self-sufficient, with the energy for the building being generated by solar panels on the roof.

Course Leader Kim added: “Staff and students are very excited about moving into the new centre.

"The animals will be moving into the centre at the end of July ready for the beginning of term in September.

"We have over 60 species of reptiles, small mammals, invertebrates, birds and fish which we are hoping to expand on now we have the new facilities.”