THE brand-new £30 million South West College campus welcomed its first students through the doors on Wednesday morning.

Queues formed as students, both new and returning, waited patiently to enter the state-of-the-art building, which will cater for in excess of 800 full-time students, 2,000 part-time students, and 120 staff, and covers 8,200sq ft on the site of the old Erne Hospital.

With the delay for opening due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the completed campus is the first and largest Passive House Premium-rated building in the world.

Rachel Foster (Derrylin) and Hannah Gordon (Lisnaskea) were on their way for their first day in the hairdressing course.

Both were "excited" to see what the new building held for them, while Joshua Deazley (Kesh), who is studying Sports, said the new campus "looked amazing" and will be a "good place for studying".

Friends Caitlyn McLoughlin and Megan Wilson (both Newtownbutler) and Niamh Cooley (Belleek) were heading for the entrance when they spoke to The Impartial Reporter.

"I've been in the building before and it's very modern and really big," said Caitlyn, who is in her second year studying Media.

"It's massive, and we are all excited for it."

New Travel and Tourism student, Sophia Georgieva was also looking forward to her first day at South West College, even though she did not know what was in store.

"I am very excited. I have no idea [what will happen] to be honest, but I can't wait to find out."

Designed by Hamilton Architects and constructed by local firm Tracey Brothers Limited, the four-storey campus is fully funded by the Department for the Economy.

The new state-of-the-art facility brings the curtain down on SWC's Fairview campus at Gaol Square, which has played a vital role in education in Fermanagh for the past 50 years.