Full construction works are underway on a transformational city centre campus that is the jewel in the crown of Wolverhampton’s City Learning Quarter masterplan.

The £61 million City of Wolverhampton Council development – supported by Government funding - will establish new educational facilities for City of Wolverhampton College, Adult Education Wolverhampton and Central Library, benefitting skills and employment outcomes for residents across the city and wider region.

It is a major milestone for what is phase 2 of the masterplan, with contractor McLaughlin & Harvey set to deliver the council and college’s vision in time for the start of the 2025/26 academic year.

Enabling works such as utility diversions, welfare construction and hoarding installation have been completed; strip-out, demolition and ground preparation works are ongoing; and piling has now started to establish the foundations for the new building.

Planned works on Central Library will also be announced in due course as part of the City Learning Quarter investment.

Works are progressing well on the first phase of the City Learning Quarter masterplan – a new £8.1 million Advanced Technology and Automotive Centre at the college’s Wellington Road campus – which is due to be completed by contractor Speller Metcalfe in July 2024 and is being funded by West Midlands Combined Authority and former Black Country LEP.

Council Leader, Councillor Stephen Simkins, said: “It is a very proud moment to see our City Learning Quarter city centre vision becoming a reality. It will have a visible and tangible impact on the City of Wolverhampton and its residents, making a massive difference to everyday life through direct investment in skills and education - it has the potential to unlock future opportunities for all in the city.

“We are working hard with City of Wolverhampton College to ensure we not only deliver a vibrant education hub where we improve the city’s learning, apprenticeship and employment offers, but also that we retain our best talent, rather than losing people to different parts of the region.

“The new facilities will provide a vital facelift to our city centre and will be an inspirational environment for people to learn in, also offering excellent connectivity to rail, bus, tram and cycle routes.

“We will be creating an environment where everyone can flourish and it demonstrates the commitment this city has to investing in its citizens.”

Mal Cowgill, Principal and CEO at City of Wolverhampton College, said: “The latest milestone in the construction of the City Learning Quarter is great news for the city, great news for the college and great news for the thousands of students and apprentices who will benefit from its first-class training facilities in the years to come.

"The city centre campus, along with the Advanced Technology and Automotive Centre at the Wellington Road campus in Bilston, will play a major part in driving up skills levels across the region and further position the college as a leading education provider in the West Midlands.”

Stuart Anderson, MP for Wolverhampton South West, said: “This marks a significant milestone for our community. This visionary project, supported by substantial government funding, reflects our commitment to enhancing educational opportunities and fostering skills development.

"As the campus takes shape, it will not only rejuvenate our city centre but will also serve as a catalyst for positive change, particularly for the youth. This transformative initiative, backed by a diverse range of funding sources, ensures that Wolverhampton remains at the forefront of educational excellence.

"I am confident that the City Learning Quarter will leave a lasting legacy for many years to come, benefiting countless young minds and contributing to the long-term prosperity of our city. This investment in education is an investment in the future success of Wolverhampton and its residents.”

Michael Kieran, McLaughlin & Harvey Construction Director, said, “We are delighted to have reached this important milestone on the Wolverhampton City Learning Quarter project. We are currently undertaking demolition and strip-out works to the existing Metro One building, as well as ground preparation works to the East and West elevations. We are also commencing piling works.”

The City Learning Quarter city centre facility will be situated around the Old Hall Street and St George’s Parade area, incorporating a site on the corner of Garrick Street and Bilston Street, where the former Faces nightclub building once stood, and utilising the college’s existing Metro One site.

The exciting proposals were initially supported by investment from the council with further funding coming through a combination of £5 million from the Towns Fund, £22 million from the Levelling Up Fund and £22 million from the Department for Education, plus additional government grants and contributions from the college and council.

It will pave the way for City of Wolverhampton College to move from its out-dated Paget Road site, which has been identified as land to build much-needed housing. 

The college forecasts that over a 10 year period approximately 45,000 people will benefit from learning at the City Learning Quarter and around 7,500 apprenticeships will be started.

Its central location and close proximity to the new £150 million transport interchange will make it easily accessible. It will also boast environmental benefits in line with council’s climate emergency agenda.