A plan to convert Scunthorpe’s Grade-II listed Civic Centre into a new university campus is expected to get the green light.
Proposals submitted by North Lincolnshire Council would see the building used as a further eduction facility.
Called the The University Campus North Lincolnshire, the scheme would deliver 1,500 university-level places in Scunthorpe.
It comes as part of a scheme led by the council, North Lindsey College and the University of Lincoln.
A range of programmes would be offered, including post-graduate and undergraduate studies.
Now, councillors have been recommended to approve the proposals at a planning meeting on February 13.
The Civic Centre, Ashby Road, was put up for sale by the authority back in September 2017 as the council looked to move its operations elsewhere.
The building has been exclusively used as head offices by Scunthorpe Borough Council, later North Lincolnshire Council, since 1962 and had previously been tipped to be converted for hotel, leisure or residential use.
Under the plans, the main council chamber would be converted into a lecture theatre while offices would be changed to create classrooms and IT laboratories.
Two external staircases would be also be built in line with the increased capacity of the building.
Council leader, Rob Waltham, said the project will help to plug the higher education gap in the region.
“The region, its people and its business owners, do not lack capability nor ambition, but there is a higher-education gap which has a detrimental impact on innovation and thus productivity,” he said.
“By developing an environment where innovation is encouraged, intellectual pursuits are stimulated and academic endeavours are commercialised, opportunities won’t just be realised, they will be born.
“The higher education element is critical but it must come hand-in-glove with entrepreneurialism. The best ideas, when cultivated, create viable, scalable and sustainable businesses.
“These businesses attract external investment, create high-paid jobs and do not just utilise technological advances but drive the development of technology for traditional and new industries.”
It comes as the authority announced it would be leaving the Civic Centre back in January 2016.
The council will move its operations to Church Square as part of a previously announced £60 million regeneration programme.
Council bosses said the move will save the authority around £375,000 a year.
£5.7 million has been spent on extending Church Square House in order to accommodate council employees.
Meanwhile, the college has since won £2.3 million worth of funding from the Greater Lincolnshire Enterprise Partnership to go towards the higher education project.
Julian Free, deputy vice chancellor of people services and operations at the University of Lincoln, said: “This latest development is an exciting step towards making higher education and skills opportunities available to even more people in the north of the county.
“By widening participation and raising people’s aspirations, we hope the project will become a catalyst for innovation and growth.
“The University is committed to this project which will have a transformational effect on Scunthorpe and North Lincolnshire.”
North Lindsey College Principal, Mick Lochran, said he was “delighted that such an ambitious project, that will be transformational for Scunthorpe and North Lincolnshire, is becoming a reality.”
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