Not even an attack by Russian computer hackers can stop the University of Gloucestershire’s enthusiasm to deliver its refurbishment of the former Debenhams building in Gloucester.
Its purchase of the empty former city centre department store for £3.1 million and plans to turn it into its new City Campus was welcome positive news in the depth of the Covid-19 pandemic.
And despite the planning process being disrupted in January 2022 by a cyber attack on Gloucester City Council, reportedly carried out by Russian hackers, the university remains undeterred and has now released the first images of its vision for the building.
Stephen Marston, vice-chancellor of the university, said: ‘We’re retaining and renovating the existing façade and will enhance the character of the building by adding sympathetic modern interventions, which will add the ‘wow’ factor externally and internally.
‘We know how important this building is to people in the city, holding a wealth of memories for them, and we’re keen not only to retain many of the art deco features, but to make more of them.
‘It remains early in the design process, but we’ve been busy with engagement sessions for staff and students as its vital that their views shape our new facilities, from the technology and equipment we select to the look and feel of our teaching and social spaces.’
Both the images and a fly-through video have been developed by ADP Architecture. The artist’s impressions show the side of the Debenhams building facing the recently refurbished King’s Square.
The university has appointed Morgan Sindall Group as the construction contractor for the City Campus project which will be home to staff and students mainly from the School of Health and Social Care and is set to open in September 2023.
By Andrew Merrell