A new university campus, due to open in Chesterfield, will help transform the region’s healthcare sector and boost the town’s growing manufacturing industries, it is predicted.
The University of Derby campus is all set to open its doors on Sheffield Road on Monday, October 17. And lecturers, students and business people alike are excited about the impact it will have on Chesterfield.
“Although we have long had a presence in Chesterfield, we hope this expansion will contribute greatly towards the town’s economy and enrich the lives of its people,” said the university’s deputy vice-chancellor, Professor Margaret Bruce.
Building work at the former St Helena’s Grammar School for Girls is on target for the official opening, which will unveil some of the best teaching facilities for nursing and health and social care in the UK, including an NHS-standard mock hospital ward. Facilities that the university describes as “world class”.
Furthermore, degrees in engineering, business, and IT across the new campus and at Derby will support Chesterfield’s advanced manufacturing industry and allow businesses to upskill their workforce and better equip employees for their careers.
After lying disused for many years, the Grade II listed building on Sheffield Road has been sympathetically restored in keeping with its origins as a pioneering educational establishment, designed by internationally acclaimed Victorian architect George Widdows.
“The University of Derby has a strong tradition of giving old buildings new life, and the completion of the renovation of St Helena’s comes in the year we also celebrate a decade in the beautiful Devonshire Dome in Buxton,” said Prof Bruce.
“We are very excited about this development and have been warmly welcomed by the town of Chesterfield.”
The building will include a new Business Innovation Centre, which will provide access to facilities and support services for small to medium-sized enterprises and business start-ups, including product development, testing equipment and incubation units.
Research commissioned by the university into the economic impact of its Buxton campus showed that it supported 500 jobs annually through a total spend of £32 million -- a result which it is hoped will be replicated in Chesterfield.
The University of Derby is currently home to a diverse community of more than 29,000 students from across the UK and overseas. It is spread over three campuses -- Derby, Chesterfield and Buxton -- and seven colleges.