6 August 2020
We were delighted to welcome The Rt Hon. Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to our University of Wolverhampton site, for a crucial government announcement as it pledged £900million to deliver new homes, infrastructure and jobs.
The announcement, which took place at the gates of the Grade-II listed former brewery - now the entrance to the new School of Architecture and the Built Environment, Springfield Campus - is part of the Government’s comprehensive plan to deliver upgrades to local infrastructure and boost skills to help fuel a green economic recovery. In total, over 300 projects in England have been informed that they will receive a share of the £900million Get Building Fund.
It was also confirmed that the City of Wolverhampton’s plan to develop a National Brownfield Institute (NBI) was to receive £14.9million from the fund; the next edition to the Springfield Campus.
The Rt Hon. Robert Jenrick said: “As we get Britain building, we are also laying the foundations for a green economic recovery by investing in vital infrastructure for local communities, creating jobs and building environmentally-friendly homes with a huge investment announced today (4 August).
“This government is determined to level up all parts of the country and this funding will not only give a much-needed boost to our economic recovery, it will help build the good quality, affordable homes the country needs.”
With ISG playing host for the visit, The Rt Hon. Robert Jenrick and guests, featuring local ministers and Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority, were taken on a tour of the project. They were able to see the final stages of work as this iconic scheme nears completion, which the ISG team and project partners have continued to progress throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
Largest built environment campus in Europe
The project forms part the University of Wolverhampton’s masterplan to transform the listed brewery into the Springfield Campus. It is set to be the largest built environment campus in Europe.
ISG has restored the Springfield brewery’s clock tower and constructed a new three-storey building that wraps around the existing tower, while keeping the outer brick façade of the former brewery building.
The historical importance of the building has seen the design of a saw-tooth roof, that harks back to the industrial buildings of yesteryear.
The importance of the university to the city of Wolverhampton isn’t lost on ISG’s home-grown project director, Liam Davies, who studied construction management there, and is now part of the ISG team delivering its brand-new School of Architecture and Built Environment. “I have worked on projects all around the world," says Liam. "It’s taken me nearly 25 years to come full circle, to be back in Wolverhampton, doing a job that means the most to me.” Read more of Liam’s story here.
The 7,900 sq m building will be home to a lecture theatre, specialist laboratories, workshops, ICT suites, offices, workspaces, meeting rooms and a café. With its saw-tooth roof, it echoes industrial buildings around Wolverhampton. Externally, there will be a piazza and courtyard.
A well-timed announcement
The announcement of additional funding for projects across the West Midlands, and England, has been welcomed by many within the industry – and was high on the agenda at a digital Smart Series event hosted by ISG recently to discuss what the future holds for the West Midlands.
The digital edition welcomed leaders, experts and specialists from across the construction industry and beyond, with over 100 attendees from a range of influential companies and institutions across the West Midlands and further afield tuning in and getting involved in the discussion around what’s next for the region – anticipated to be one of the UK’s hardest hit economies – as it targets a full recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Prior to this, Birmingham was one of the fastest developing cities in the UK with large-scale investment taking place across the region and regeneration high on the West Midlands priority list.
Speaking at the Smart Series event, Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority, said that construction will prove vital to the region’s prosperity as we emerge from the pandemic, recently announcing an ambitious £3.2 billion development plan for the region – entitled Recharge the Midlands, with a focus on stimulating the local economy through housebuilding, brownfield regeneration and retrofit. Read a full review of the event here.