A redesigned social learning space has been officially opened at Wrexham Glyndwr University’s annual open meeting.
The Gallery, an attractive learning space where students and staff can study, socialise, and relax, is the latest upgrade to campus facilities at the university to be unveiled as part of the £60 million Campus 2025 estates renewal strategy.
Based above the university’s main reception on the Plas Coch Campus, the new facilities have modernised the existing space to provide an attractive learning environment equipped with state-of-the-art technology – while also conserving a number of historic features.
The space – formerly the Oriel Sycharth Gallery – will also feature a rolling programme of artwork, with the first pieces to go on display taken from a series of paintings produced during the PhD research of Glyndwr student Megan Jones, who worked alongside people with dementia to produce a series of paintings.
The latest refurbishment is part of a wider programme of redevelopment which will be taking place on the University’s B corridor this year, with funding towards the work coming from a £750,000 grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW.)
It was officially opened by Glyndwr’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Maria Hinfelaar and Chair of Governors, Maxine Penlington OBE, at this morning’s Board of Governors annual open meeting.
Ms Penlington said: “As part of our contribution to the wider community, the University has developed a Civic Engagement Strategy, which drives our ambition to be a constructive partner in transforming prospects for people and communities in the region.
“Working closely with partners in the public, private and voluntary sectors, and through both teaching and research, we are actively engaged in a number of projects in areas such as public service leadership development, mental health, social prescribing and volunteering.
“I have been deeply impressed by the difference a small university can make when it is truly engaged with and embedded in the community it serves.”
And Professor Hinfelaar added: “It’s my great pleasure as the Vice-Chancellor of Wrexham Glyndŵr University to host this year’s annual open meeting and to officially open the doors to our brand new facility, The Gallery, our collaborative and social learning space.
“In fact I have a sense of deja-vu: last year’s Annual Open Meeting marked the launch of our first new-style social learning space for students, The Study, down on A-corridor. It has proved exceptionally popular with students, staff and visitors alike so that made us hungry for more.
“Following the successful opening of the Study, the Scale-Up innovative classroom facility on B-corridor at the start of this academic year, and of course our acquisition of high quality student accommodation at Wrexham Student Village, today we mark the completion of yet another investment.”
Professor Hinfelaar continued: “We are already eating substantially into our £60m capital masterplan, Campus 2025.
“That is as it should be; glossy banners and visual impressions created by architects have to be translated into reality. We will, of course, be doing more than going from room to room, making incremental improvements.
“There are much bigger plans for a learning gateway at the heart of the campus, a new engineering research building and a complete transformation of the public space, car parking and landscaping around the campus. To help fund these developments, we are also proposing to dispose of some sites which we do not require and which can then be repurposed, in line with plans and aspirations for the town and wider region.
“Our plans therefore tick a number of boxes: they will transform the university and the student experience, they will create a much improved landmark building coming into Wrexham, and they will free up some unused sites for different development.
“A strong university and a strong town – that is what Wrexham needs.”