AMBITIOUS plans to create a university campus in the heart of Barrow are taking shape as an illustration of the proposed building is revealed for the first time.
Barrow’s Learning Quarter would feature a new University of Cumbria campus on Barrow Island offering a programme of higher education as well as the transformation of Furness College’s sixth form on its current Rating Lane site.
It is one of seven projects that make up #BrilliantBarrow – an initiative that has secured an offer of £25 million from the Government’s Towns Fund to help Barrow thrive and prosper for future generations.
Now, an image of how the university campus building could look has been revealed as part of work to develop a detailed business case for the project.
The image – an artist’s impression – shows the property in situ at the docks where it could offer a programme of degree-level courses to widen access to higher education across the area.
Professor Julie Mennell, University of Cumbria Vice Chancellor, said the Learning Quarter was an inspirational project that could transform the education landscape in Barrow.
“Seeing an illustration of how the building could look is a huge step in the development of this project and one that emphasises how transformational it could be for so many people.
“Working with our partners, Furness College, BAE Systems and Lancaster University, the campus will provide space and opportunities for learning that will make higher education more accessible to people who live and work in Barrow, particularly those who may otherwise have considered further study after school off limits financially or because of distance.”
Currently, around 25 per cent of adults in Barrow have studied to degree level or the equivalent compared to a national average of 44 per cent.
It is hoped provision of further and higher education within the town will encourage people of all ages to consider enrolling on courses that could help them and open up opportunities in the future.
Detailed work is now underway to complete the business case in support of the Barrow Learning Quarter project.
This will be assessed before the funding can be drawn down from Government to allow the project to move forward. It has an anticipated completion date of 2024.
Councillor Ann Thomson, the leader of Barrow Borough Council and a member of the #BrilliantBarrow Board, said the benefits of the university campus would be wide-ranging for the whole town.
She added: “Becoming a university town has the potential to be a game-changer for Barrow, its residents of all ages and for future generations, as well as for our business community and economy which will be able to recruit from a pool of talent right on their doorstep.
“A lower proportion of people currently pursue further or higher education than in other areas, even though our young people are incredibly bright and have so much potential ahead of them.
“Being able to visualise how a campus building could look really brings this project to life and hints at the exciting future set to unfold before us.”