Building students take on project with historic Wolverhampton church
Students at the University of Wolverhampton are giving valuable input into the protection, restoration and future of a historic church in the city.
SS. Mary & John’s Catholic Church, Snow Hill – a 160-year-old Grade II* listed building - is working with the University’s School of Architecture and Built Environment on a live student project.
The project addresses how the church can modernise its facilities, improve wheelchair access, and alter the Narthax (the entrance lobby); this will open up the Church to the wider Wolverhampton community, allowing visitors a better view when inside, and also contributing to the protection of its structure.
A group of ten final year BSc (Hons) Building Surveying students undertook a site visit to analyse how the church can incorporate new technology and the needs of today’s community into its daily function, with a further visit due in February 2016 to look at how the original stonework and its beautiful external carvings can be protected and restored for future generations to enjoy.
Anthony Hatfield, Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture and Built Environment, Faculty of Science and Engineering, said: “Real-life projects such as this contribute greatly to the student experience and future employability. You can learn much in the classroom, but actually getting out onto sites and meeting clients are skills which are needed when our graduates enter industry. The ideas that the students come up with will be put forward to Father Pawel Bielak, Parish Priest, and Stephen Oliver, the architect involved in the church restoration and modernisation project.”
Fr Pawel, SS. Mary & John’s Catholic Church, said: “It’s fantastic the students from the University of Wolverhampton are giving us this support and valued advice on our building project. We hope that, as a case study for them, we can help them too with their real-life experience of working with clients.
“We’re delighted, and grateful, that the Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded us a grant of £225,400 for the restoration of high-level stonework and modifications to the front entrance to the Church. The total cost of the project is £334,000 so we have to raise the balance of around £90,000. It is envisaged that the work will start in March 2016 and should be completed by December.”
For more information on architecture and built environment-related courses at the University of Wolverhampton, please visit www.wlv.ac.uk/fse
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