In 2014 the University of Wolverhampton bought the 12-acre, Grade II listed former Springfield Brewery, unveiling plans for a £100m redevelopment to create an architecture and built environment super-campus. The project was successfully completed in August 2020, with the university’s School of Architecture and the Built Environment (SOABE) relocating to the new Springfield Campus in time for the new academic year. This forms the largest part of the first phase of redevelopment. The facility provides space for 1,100 students and 65 staff, supporting skills in architecture, construction, civil engineering and related sectors. It will also house the Brownfield Institute research centre.
The built environment skills pathway is enhanced by two further projects on the new campus: the new West Midlands Construction University Technical College (UTC) and the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills (ECMS). The UTC provides education for 14 to 19-year olds, specialising in construction and the application of IT in the built environment and prepares students for professional and technical careers in construction.
The new Springfield Campus is the culmination of the most ambitious aspect of the University of Wolverhampton’s Our Vision, Your Opportunity programme. It acts as a catalyst for economic and social regeneration, tailored to creating jobs and delivering the technical and professional experts required by the industry.
- To regenerate an important historic site.
- To provide a campus that supports built environment education and training, including the relocation of SOABE.
- To retain as much of the site’s heritage as possible, adding new buildings which reflect the site’s historic industrial surroundings.
- To preserve historic listed buildings, illustrating historical construction techniques.
- Deliver the SOABE project to BIM level 2, (The first such project for the university)
- To de-risk the SOABE site, split the works into three separate contracts: demolition/remediation; new build, and infrastructure (ensure a truly collaborative approach with the contracting market place to manage the risk profile of the redevelopment).
Delivering Social Value
- The imaginative pairing of the old and new elements of the development were of particular relevance, acting as a live case-study for SOABE students.
- Students of SOABE will have a purpose-built, cutting-edge facility, as part of belonging to a university that is investing and growing to meet industry demands.
- Regeneration of a historic site that has seen over a decade of abandonment, two major fires and a failed residential development. It now has a new purpose for a new generation.
- As Europe’s largest specialist construction and built environment campus, the site brings together businesses and the education sector to maximise impact on the national and local economy.
- The campus acts as a catalyst for economic and social regeneration, tailored to creating jobs and delivering the technical and professional experts required by the construction industry.
- University of Wolverhampton students were represented on the project board and helped inform the design.
- The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership commented that plans to build 45,000 new homes in the region will be supported by the skills provided at the campus.