£8 million fund provides catalyst for building growth in Black Country

The University of Wolverhampton has been successful in securing £8 million funding for its ground-breaking regeneration partnership at the former Springfield Brewery site in the city of Wolverhampton.

The funding is provided by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) through the Catalyst Fund which is designed to drive innovation and enhance excellence in the Higher Education sector.

Professor Geoff Layer, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “We are delighted to have secured a significant amount of Catalyst funding from HEFCE.

“This is a fantastic national endorsement of a project that aims to regenerate an important brownfield site in the heart of the Black Country whilst at the same time making a valuable contribution to economic growth in the region.

“The funding will be used to significantly enhance the student experience in the School of Architecture and Built Environment which will be at the heart of our new national centre of excellence for construction in the heart of Wolverhampton.”

Yvonne Hawkins, HEFCE’s Director for Universities and Colleges, said: “The Springfield redevelopment project demonstrates how much can be done through partnership with a wide range of local bodies, including the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership as well as engaging with employers to enhance and enrich the curriculum which will be on offer for students.”

Springfield Campus is a £100m jointly-funded redevelopment of the former Springfield Brewery site in the city of Wolverhampton.

As part of its ‘Our Vision, Your Opportunity’ £250 million programme of investment, the University of Wolverhampton has committed to transform the derelict brewery into an education hub for construction and the built environment.

The University – a member of the West Midlands Combined University group alongside Birmingham City University and Coventry University – has secured planning and listed building consent in order to relocate its School of Architecture and the Built Environment to site. 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.

The investment will provide 8,100 square metres of space, creating 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, the new Campus will provide space initially for nearly 800 students and 50 staff, with the number of students projected to rise to more than 1,200 and will be a centre of excellence for the built environment, construction and high value manufacturing.

The site also includes the West Midlands Construction University Technical College (WMCUTC), which opened in November 2016, and the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills Hub, which will open in August 2017.