UNIVERSITY TOWN: Sketches show how Chesterfield's St Helena's building will soon look
Work is progressing well to transform an abandoned Chesterfield school into the University of Derby's new campus in the town.
The university is expected to launch at the former St Helena’s Grammar School on Sheffield Road this autumn.
Professor Rod Dubrow-Marshall, deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Derby, said: “Expanding our work in Chesterfield with the refurbished campus in such a wonderful building comes in the same year we celebrate a decade in Buxton’s historic Devonshire Dome.
“Research commissioned by the university into the economic impact of the Buxton campus on the local economy revealed that it supported 500 jobs through a total spend of £32million – and we hope to have a similar impact in Chesterfield.”
Work on the Grade II listed building – which opened in 1892 and taught 11 to 18-year-old girls – began last July.
Students will be able to study engineering and nursing courses at the campus, building on the town’s industrial heritage and the university’s existing strong links with training at Chesterfield Royal Hospital.
It will also offer business, computing and law courses in state-of-the-art facilities.
A University of Derby spokesman said: “St Helena’s began life as one of the first educational establishments to put the needs of pupils at its heart, with plenty of light and air designed into its classrooms and corridors by world-famous architect George Widdows.
“He was a firm believer in treating youngsters like human beings and his template for people-friendly spaces was copied across the globe, especially in America.
“So he would be very impressed with the care lavished on the robots which will make up some of the occupants of the new campus – high-tech simulated ‘patients’ in a mock ward for nursing undergraduates to practice on.”
St Helena’s closed in 1991 and Derbyshire County Council used the building as offices until late 2013.
Residents can get an update on the St Helena’s development at the Celebrate Chesterfield event in the town’s Winding Wheel on Thursday, March 17.