Wrexham Glyndwr University has announced redevelopment plans, including a ‘a showcase building as part of a new gateway entrance’ likely on Mold Road.
The proposed redevelopment features as part of the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Maria Hinfelaar’s vision for the north east Wales and the institution as the University continues to grow under a five-year strategy up to 2020.
Professor Hinfelaar’s said, “We are viewing the development of our new campus masterplan primarily through the lens of our students – it is their physical learning environment we must improve,” she said.
“We need more space for students to engage in social, informal and collaborative activity, as distinct from the classroom environment which also needs upgrading.
“On the main campus, we want to invest in a new student hub, a showcase building as part of a new gateway entrance and refurbished student accommodation, and we are currently putting financial plans in place.”
We are told the university’s other campuses in Wrexham, Northop and St Asaph ‘will not be forgotten’ and will be an integral part of the new Estates and Learning Environment Strategy – we have previously written about an ‘estates review‘ that has taken place, with it possible land sales will part fund the multi million pound redevelopment.
Professor Hinfelaar says staff and students have “plenty to look forward to” over the coming years, and says with new partnerships being forged across the region, the time is right for people to join forces with the institution.
“Our ‘triple helix’ concept is timely, because I can definitely see converging agendas when meeting with regional organisations such as the North Wales Economic Ambition Board, North Wales Business Council and the Mersey-Dee Alliance,” she said.
“There is talk of a cross-border skills and innovation summit with WGU as one of the lead partners, with a focus on how universities and colleges on both sides of the border can underpin the ‘growth bid’ for North Wales and more joint-up thinking that will link this bid to the Northern Powerhouse.
“Up to now, much of the debate has been about what infrastructure improvements in road and rail are needed; it is time now to introduce an education and research dimension to this debate. After all, if we really want to create an excellent ecosystem for the region we need brainpower as well as physical connectivity.”
Along with the redevelopment of the Wrexham campus, an increase in student satisfaction at the University is also among the key targets for Professor Hinfelaar.
One of the university’s biggest achievements last year was a 5% increase in the National Student Survey – making Wrexham Glyndwr University (WGU) one of the top 10 risers in the UK – and Professor Hinfelaar hopes to see even more positive results this time around.
“First and foremost we need to build student numbers because the University is not yet the size it could potentially be,” said Professor Hinfelaar.
“We are running some excellent courses which deliver good results for graduates measured by metrics such as employability, recognition by professional and regulatory bodies and student satisfaction.
“At the moment, though, we are still seeing a large percentage of school leavers from north east Wales leaving our region instead of studying with us.
“We need to work harder to keep more of them here, but the other side of the coin, more positively, is that at least we have something to work on to attract our natural slice of the student market.
“We should, and do, promote what we have to offer to students from outside the region, including international students. This is not just important for us at WGU, but also for Wrexham and the surrounding area – a successful university will help it to thrive.”
We expect proposals to be made public around the middle of this year.