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Cheers to Wolverhampton University’s work on Springfield brewery site

By Megan Archer | Wolverhampton | Education | Published:

A new school of architecture building at the University of Wolverhampton has been hailed as a 'centre of excellence which will be among the biggest and best in Europe.'

How the building will look

Work could begin as soon as this month at the Springfield Campus, after Wolverhampton council granted planning permission for the transformation of the former brewery site in Grimstone Street.

It comes after the university's original project was scrapped following the emergence of structural issues.

The council go-ahead has been welcomed by university bosses, who say the building will be a ' fantastic addition to the city'.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Jackie Dunne, the university’s project lead for the 12-acre Springfield Campus, said staff were now 'very much looking forward' to the next phase by actually getting on site and moving the project forward.

When completed, the School of Architecture and Built Environment will provide space for nearly 1,100 existing students and 65 staff, with the number of students thought to grow over time to more than 1,500.

An artist's impression of the building

It will specialise in supporting skills in architecture, construction, civil engineering, building control, building services, facilities management, quantity surveying, planning, construction management, housing and commercial. It will also house a brownfield research centre.

Vice-Chancellor Dunne added: "We welcome the decision to grant planning permission by the council and have worked very closely with the planning department, Historic England and other groups to get to this point.

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“We think the new design is really exciting and will be a fantastic addition to the city. Springfield is a key strategic project for the university and we are committed to realising the vision of the site and the part this will play in regenerating Wolverhampton."

She said: "This is the biggest and final part of the first phase of Springfield’s redevelopment and one of the biggest capital projects we have ever undertaken. Once complete it will offer an unrivalled built environment hub and centre of excellence which will be among the biggest and best in Europe.”

The new design aims to keep as much heritage as possible and add new buildings which reflect the site’s historic industrial surroundings.

One of the building designs

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The iconic clock tower building will be restored and a new building wrapped around it. At its centre will be a naturally lit open atrium spanning three floors, covered by a glass roof lantern.

Inside the building there will be specialist teaching and social learning spaces, design studios, specialist labs, multi-disciplinary workshops, lecture theatre, café, offices, meeting rooms, ICT rooms and a top floor super studio with double height ceilings.

Wolverhampton council deputy managing director Tim Johnson said: “It is a major boost for the city to see approval granted for the School of Architecture and the Built Environment revised plans. It is wonderful to see the former Springfield Brewery site growing into the reality of a European-leading Built Environment education campus in Wolverhampton."

The historic site has been vacant for more than 25 years - plans for the school form the largest part of the first phase of the £100m redevelopment of Springfield Campus. Bosses hope it will be ready for the 2019-20 academic year as planned.

Megan Archer

By Megan Archer
Senior Reporter - @MeganA_Star

Senior reporter with the Express & Star, primarily covering Wolverhampton and surrounding areas. Give me a call on 01902 319363, email megan.archer@expressandstar.co.uk or find me on Facebook at facebook.com/meganarcherstar

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