Plans by the University of Wolverhampton to transform a derelict brewery into an education hub for construction and the built environment have taken a step forward.
The University has submitted planning and listed building consent applications in order to relocate its School of Architecture and the Built Environment to the former Springfield Brewery site in Wolverhampton.
The plans include the demolition a number of existing buildings which have fallen into disrepair, redeveloping and refurbishing others, as well as creating a new building.
It will provide 8,100 square metres of space to create an atrium, open plan design studios, lab and workshop space, research space, lecture theatres, classrooms, social learning space, student services, catering and café facilities and administrative support.
The historic outer brick façade on Grimstone Street and Cambridge Street will be retained and the area landscaped. Old and new buildings will be linked by a glazed bridge.
When completed, it will provide space initially for nearly 800 students and 50 staff, with the number of students projected to rise to more than 1,200.
The plans for the School of Architecture forms the largest phase of the £100m redevelopment of the site to create the Springfield Campus.
The campus will be a centre of excellence for the built environment, construction and high value manufacturing to be delivered by the University and it is partners.
The site also comprises the West Midlands Construction University Technical College (WMCUTC), which is due to open in November 2016, and the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills Hub, which will open in August 2017.
University of Wolverhampton Vice-Chancellor, Professor Geoff Layer, said: “The Springfield Campus project is at the heart of the £250 million ‘Our Vision, Your Opportunity’ investment. Our aim through the redevelopment of this brownfield site is for the new centre to act as a catalyst for the wider economic and social regeneration of Wolverhampton.
“The new site will provide a collaborative research environment, working closely with business and offering cutting-edge facilities equipped with the latest technologies to provide innovative teaching across a lifelong learning ladder of opportunities.
“With its uniquely designed infrastructure, blended with existing buildings, not only will the new School of Architecture and Built Environment showcase the historical heritage of the Black Country, it will provide an outstanding learning environment, creating a unique setting for construction innovation.
“This will see the creation of a skills pathway for construction education and training from the age of 14 through to senior professionals.
“We are already engaging with local schools, colleges and business to raise awareness of the portfolio courses that will be available from autumn 2017 and students studying for degrees are actively involved in live projects on the site.”
Councillor John Reynolds, Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: “It is wonderful to see this historic site, which has been vacant for over a quarter of a century, being brought back to life by the university.
“Multi-billion pound regeneration is changing the face of our city and creating a wealth of attractive investment opportunities.
“Impressive strides have already been made in Wolverhampton and the news that good progress is being made on the new Springfield Campus follows the exciting announcement of a £55 million leisure-led mixed use development on Westside.
“There is also no doubt the UTC, Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills (ECMS), and the relocated School of Architecture and Built Environment will help raise the bar when it comes to skills and employment in the city.”
The WMCUTC, which the University sponsors along with the Construction Industry Training Board, will provide education for up to 600 14-19-year-olds specialising in construction and the application of IT in the built environment, preparing students for technical careers in the construction industry.
The ECMS Hub will function as an employer-led training facility for the Black Country, designed to improve productivity and growth in the high value manufacturing (HVM) sector. The Black Country LEP has been instrumental in ensuring the project will deliver provision that doesn’t currently exist in the region.
The University of Wolverhampton bought the site in 2014. Between 1873 and 1991 it operated as a brewery owned by Mitchells and Butlers.
For more information please contact James Allen in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322003.
Date Issued: Tuesday 26 July