Attendees were invited from City of Wolverhampton Council, university alumni and local business partners, along with the principals of the consultant practices who have been involved to date. The event comprised a presentation from Vice-Chancellor Professor Geoff Layer and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Jackie Dunne from the University of Wolverhampton, outlining how SOABE fits in with the regeneration of the Springfield Campus.
At the groundbreaking ceremony, a time capsule, which had been prepared by a student at the West Midlands University Technical College, also based on the Springfield campus, was buried. The capsule contains artefacts including building materials and photos from the former Springfield Brewery.
Simon Kendall, regional director of SNC-Lavalin’s Faithful+Gould business and project lead on SOABE said, "it has been a long journey to reach this point in the project and the groundbreaking ceremony marks the end of the beginning and the start of the next chapter of development. The scheme will provide a fantastic opportunity for future construction professionals to understand how buildings fit together and work and be an exemplar of how to regenerate an historic site with a careful blend of restoration and sympathetically designed new build buildings.”
Once built, SOABE, on which SNC-Lavalin’s Faithful+Gould business is leading the multi-disciplinary design team and providing employer’s agent and cost management services, will provide space for nearly 1,100 existing students and 65 staff. The School will specialise in supporting skills in architecture, construction, civil engineering and related sectors. It will also house a brownfield research centre.
SOABE forms the largest part of the first phase of the £100m redevelopment of the site to create the Springfield Campus. The site of the former Springfield brewery has been transformed into Europe’s largest specialist construction and built environment campus, bringing together businesses and the education sector to maximise impact on the economy. It will also act as a catalyst for economic and social regeneration, tailored to creating jobs and delivering the technical and professional experts required by the industry.
Faithful+Gould also delivered multi-disciplinary services on the Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills, the second project to be delivered on the Springfield Campus.