Work on Chesterfield university campus to start in summer

Education news...
Education news...

Work to transform a derelict school into the Chesterfield campus of the University of Derby is expected to start in July.

The university is set to open in the former St Helena’s Grammar School, on Sheffield Road, in summer 2016.

The news emerged on Wednesday during a meeting at the Winding Wheel discussing future plans for Chesterfield.

Students will be able to study engineering and nursing courses at the campus, building on the town’s industrial heritage and the university’s existing strong links with training at Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

New jobs are also expected to be created with the move.

St Helena’s, which used to be a girls’ school, was built in 1911.

It closed in the 1990s and Derbyshire County Council (DCC) used the Grade II listed building as offices until late 2013.

Major refurbishment will be required to bring the 2.2 acre site up to standard.

Speaking at the meeting, Dr Peter Dewhurst, the university’s strategic director, said the historic site would be “sympathetically renovated”.

He added: “We are desperate to breathe new life into it.”

Dr Dewhurst said that the university was now in the top 50 in the UK, according to Guardian newspaper.

Speaking when the move was announced last year, Hari Punchihewa, deputy chief executive and finance director at the University of Derby, said: “This acquisition extends our options to be of service to the town of Chesterfield and to help create jobs and bolster the higher education offer already in place there.

“The building is a wonderful structure which sits in a perfect location, being so close to town and the college.”

Councillor Brian Ridgeway, of DCC, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to give the university the opportunity to extend their work into Chesterfield – this is the best possible use for St Helena’s.

“The university will bring new jobs to the area and create opportunities for people from Chesterfield, North East Derbyshire and Bolsover to increase their qualifications and skills.”