Student learning and research facilities at Swansea University will be transformed under a new investment programme backed by the European Investment Bank. Europe’s long-term lending institution has agreed to provide GBP 60 million to enhance both Swansea University’s historic Singleton Park Campus and to expand research facilities at the new Bay Campus.
The next wave of Swansea University’s ambitious campus development programme to be supported by the European Investment Bank includes further space optimisation at Singleton Park Campus to enhance the student experience, refurbishment of the Grade-2 listed Fulton House and Wallace buildings to upgrade specialised laboratories and redevelopment of the Talbot building. The scheme will also transform the student learning, social and support spaces to better cater for modern study practices and deliver an enhanced student experience. The campus development programme also includes construction of a new Computational Foundry at the Bay Campus which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through Welsh Government.
The new 25-year European Investment Bank loan, expected to be confirmed in the coming days, follows successful completion of the new Bay Campus that was supported by a previous GBP 60 million loan formally agreed during a visit to Swansea in 2012 by First Minister Carwyn Jones. The Bay Campus was constructed in less than 26 months and is already delivering significant impact for the region with Swansea University seeing a 20% increase in intake in student and staff numbers, and a 120% increase in new research projects awarded since 2012.
A key focus of the new investment programme is the sustainability of the built environment including reducing energy use through improved energy efficiency and all new buildings will be constructed to BREEAM Excellent standard or better.
“This is a massive vote of confidence in the University for what we have achieved and our plans for taking the strong upward trajectory of the University even further. Developments planned on our Singleton Park Campus include new student facilities, refurbishment of the Grade 2 listed Fulton House and Wallace buildings including upgraded specialised laboratories, and improvements to the Library. We are also embarking on phase 2 of our science and innovation Bay Campus, including a Computational Foundry which will transform Swansea and Wales as a global destination for computational scientists. These exciting projects are part of our ambition to build on our current and growing success, improving student experience still further and increasing our collaborative research links with industry, and becoming a powerhouse for the regional economy.” said Professor Richard B Davies, Vice Chancellor of Swansea University.
“Leading universities across Europe recognise the need to invest to build on existing strengths and harness new opportunities. Recent investment at Swansea University has strengthened student satisfaction, enabled new collaboration with leading industrial partners, generated world-class research and made an impressive contribution to the local economy. The European Investment Bank is pleased to have helped finance the new Bay Campus and we look forward to supporting transformation of the Singleton site and backing new facilities on the Bay Campus under this new initiative through a new GBP 60 million loan. Students and staff at Swansea University and the people of South Wales should be proud of the University’s continued development and impressive track record. Over the last decade the EIB has provided more than GBP 1.6 billion for investment by 28 universities across the UK and Swansea stands out as a genuine flagship that provides a model for leading institutions across Europe to follow” said Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice-President.
The Singleton Park Campus was established in 1920 and until 2015 was home to all the academic colleges. In 2010, Swansea University embarked on a programme of change and transformation with over £72 million on the Singleton Park Campus to include further developments for the Medical School and Institute of Life Science. In 2015, Swansea University became a dual campus, situated on a beach and in a park.
Swansea University’s Bay Campus is situated direct on a beach on a 65-acre former BP Transit site in Neath Port Talbot on the eastern approach into Swansea. The Bay Campus now provides academic, student accommodation and research space including collaboration with international and national companies. The majority of the works for the Bay Campus were completed during this first phase of construction before it was opened in September 2015.
The Bay Campus was financed by the European Investment Bank, and a number of public and private sector partners including the University, Welsh Government, European Regional Development Fund, The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, and M&G Investments with St Modwen.
Colleges based at the Bay Campus include the College of Engineering and the School of Management. Facilities include the Tower Information Centre, home to central support services for students, a state-of-the-art Bay Library, the Students’ Union, facilities and meeting rooms and an impressive Great Hall will house an auditorium for 700, lecture theatres and a cafe offering magnificent views across the Swansea Bay towards Gower and Baglan Bay.
Over the last decade, the European Investment Bank has provided more than GBP 4 billion for education investment across the UK supporting refurbishment and construction of new facilities at schools, higher and further education colleges and universities.
This has included providing GBP 2.3 billion since 2010 to back transformational investment at thirty universities across the country. This has included new campuses in Swansea and Belfast, new research and teaching facilities in Bangor, Newcastle, Birmingham, Hull and Lincoln and cutting-edge research facilities in Oxford, Imperial College London and Edinburgh, the world-class Technology and Innovation Hub at Strathclyde. In Wales, the European Investment Bank has helped to finance investment at Neath Port Talbot College and Coleg y Cymoedd sites across South Wales.
Lending by the EIB in the UK last year totalled GBP 5.6bn and represented the largest annual engagement since the start of EIB lending in the UK in 1973. This supported nearly GBP 16bn of overall investment in 40 projects across the UK, which schools, university campuses, hospitals, upgraded energy links, renewable energy projects and water infrastructure.
Over the last decade, in response to requests from public sector and private business clients, the European Investment Bank has supported transport, education, social housing, water, energy, and urban regeneration investment across Wales, with additional investment from UK-wide programmes.