UWE Bristol invests in new enterprise campus

Issue date: 17 October 2008

Sharper Image Aerial Photography In a bold step the University of the West of England, Bristol, (UWE Bristol) one of the UK's largest universities, has secured its long term development and purchased from its neighbour HP the majority of their adjoining land interests. The purchase will nearly double the size of its main Frenchay Campus, and allow the creation of one of the largest modern University Campuses in the UK. The move will enable UWE Bristol to enhance the student experience and provide an enterprise hub for employers in the region.

The partly developed 70 acre site has capacity for in excess of 1,000,000 sq ft of development and adjoins the west boundary of the existing Frenchay Campus.

It sits at the centre of north Bristol's enterprise zone which includes the MOD, HP, Airbus, AXA, Rolls Royce, the NHS and Bristol Business Park. The site offers an enormous opportunity for UWE Bristol to realize its ambitions to improve the student experience by providing contemporary facilities for teaching and learning, as well as reaching out to employers and the business community with bespoke services such as enhanced conference facilities, and a hub for ideas and knowledge exchange.

The move will enhance the University's ability to deliver professional courses to a growing postgraduate community of 6,000 students with its expanding number of international students. It will also provide a space for the University's growing number of research centres such as the internationally renowned Bristol Robotics Lab, Institute of Bio-Sensing Technology, and the Institute of Sustainability, Health and Environment.

The Frenchay campus currently hosts UWE's Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School as well as a new School of Education, an excellent languages department, the Bristol Institute of Technology, the School of Life Sciences, and the School of the Built and Natural Environment.

The vision is the creation of a 21st century campus able to compete with the best in the world. The future environment will set new standards with some exciting ideas on sustainability, energy and including a low emission transport service serving both students, the local community and local employers.

Steve West, Vice Chancellor of the University of the West of England said,

“This land provides a fantastic opportunity for the University to create one of the most extensive, sustainable and modern Campuses in the UK. It will enable us to provide a real hub for student life, and to meet the needs of students, employers and staff. This purchase is the largest single investment the University has made since the inception of the Frenchay Campus at Coldharbour Lane in 1972 (then Bristol Polytechnic), and it offers an excellent opportunity for us to realise the University's long term strategic future.”

The long term plans for the site will be the subject of an 18 month Master Planning exercise, which will consider the consolidation of UWE's other Campuses, creating contemporary teaching and learning facilities and integrating subject areas which are currently split between different Campuses. In addition the Master Plan will focus on the possible creation of a hub, a facility which will enable employers and businesses to gain direct access to the University's expertise and knowledge.

Steve West added,

“Employer engagement is a key focus of our strategy and of the Government's vision for Higher Education. We want to enhance our facilities to connect employers, businesses and the community to the University and its expertise. This land offers a chance to create a sense of place for the community that is open and connected.

“We are delighted to be close neighbours of HP. The University prides itself on the contribution it makes to its local partners like HP. Also students and our research centres like the Centre for Fine Print benefit enormously from the relationship with HP.”

UWE were advised by property consultants Alder King, solicitors, Lyons Davidson and engineers Capita Symonds in the acquisition of the 70 acre site.

In last few years UWE has improved the student experience through a £300m programme, including investment in a new £80m student village, £5m sports facility and £16m School of Education building. Recent campus developments have also used the very best in sustainable thinking including an award winning £4m architecture studio made with straw bale insulation, powered by solar energy and plumbed for rainwater. Any new build on the enlarged campus will take this into account with considerations also for sustainable energy such as underground heat source and wind power.

Editor's notes

For further information see the Foundation for the Future website

Visuals are available from the press office.

Alder King LLP is a leading multi-discipline property consultancy and winner of the Estates Gazette Property Adviser of the Year – South West award. Employing around 175 people the business is one of the largest provincially based property consultancies operating in the United Kingdom and has representation across seven regional offices – Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter, Gloucester, Swindon, Taunton and Truro.

Lyons Davidson is a national law practice of 35 partners and some 800 staff operating from principal offices in Bristol and regional offices in Solihull, Leeds, Greater London, Plymouth and Cardiff. They are a full service law firm committed to delivering high quality professional services in a cost-effective and approachable manner to institutions, businesses and individuals.


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