When what was Gloucester’s kingpin retail outlet, Debenhams, closed for good in May 2021 some feared it would leave a gaping hole in the city centre.
But within days, the University of Gloucestershire had agreed to pay more than £3 million to become its new owner and was unveiling plans for transforming the once grand Art Deco building into a new campus.
Before anyone had time to consider what that meant for the university, it also became part of a successful bid for £20 million of government levelling-up cash to help with the project and secured £29 million in loans from Barclays, too.
Now it has released new images showing those plans well underway, with construction firm Morgan Sindall Group on schedule and students expected to be welcomed on site in autumn 2023.
Dr Nigel Wichall, director of estates at the university, said: ‘We hope these latest images provide a useful insight into what’s been happening behind the scenes at the former Debenhams building.’
Morgan Sindall is working alongside a team led by Midlands-headquartered ADP Architecture to bring the vision of a new campus to life.
According to the university, the new images show that stage one enabling works, including the removal of non-structural walls, suspended floors and ceilings, and lifts, stairs and escalators, are now nearing completion.
They also show that work is already underway on the stage two structural alterations, including the shaping of openings for ceilings, floors, staircases and skylights.
The new city campus will focus on training nursing and educational professionals and is a major part of ambitious plans by the university to grow by more than 65 per cent by 2032, taking student numbers to 19,000.