Gloucester University to turn Debenhams store into modern learning spaces
Based in the heart of Gloucester City Centre, the now defunct Debenhams store will be transformed into a new campus for teaching, learning and community partnerships.
By repurposing this iconic building into a new hub for learning, we can make a major contribution to creating a better future for our community – Stephen Marston, VC, University of Gloucestershire
As well as boosting regeneration of the city centre and aiding post-Covid recovery, the purchase of this building is integral to the University of Gloucester’s ambitious plans for growth.
Stephen Marston, vice-chancellor at the University of Gloucestershire, said: “We have ambitious plans for growth in our student numbers and the range of higher education courses we offer. The restoration of this iconic building will enable us to create the additional space we need for additional students and staff in a location with excellent transport links, new student accommodation, and local services in a phased way, while boosting the city centre economy.”
Modern learning spaces
The 1930s Art Deco building will create modern spaces for learning and teaching, enabling the university to expand the range of its higher education programmes. The university is exploring dual-use purposes with the community such as learning, wellbeing, enterprise and culture.
Marston said: “We want to explore a range of potential partnerships for accommodating services of value to the public, taking advantage of this prime city centre location to offer local people access to services they value. This is all part of the wider ambition, working with partners to bring new life and vibrancy to the high street.”
He added: “It is part of the university’s mission to support the growth and development of our community, economically, socially and culturally. By repurposing this iconic building into a new hub for learning, we can make a major contribution to creating a better future for our community.”
Richard Graham, MP for Gloucester, said: “This great good news will result in large numbers of University of Gloucestershire students getting vital skills in public sector courses like nursing and allied health courses in our city centre. I hope agreements will also soon be reached on partnerships, for example in learning and wellbeing on the ground and basement floors, open to all.”
Phase one of the project could open as early as September 2023, subject to statutory approvals.