THIS is the future of higher education in Swansea Bay.
And it should be here in less time than it takes to get a degree.
Swansea University’s £250 million science and innovation campus is set to be created at the old BP transit site off Fabian Way.
Neath Port Talbot Council has given the detailed designs its seal of approval, saying the project will assure the region’s economic, social and educational future.
Or as Briton Ferry councillor Hugh James put it: “Anybody who doesn’t support this would be absolutely mad.”
He remarked on the level of thought that had been put into the building designs.
“It isn’t just an ugly box, as we had in the 1960s and 1970s. It’s going to be stunning.”
Swansea University says it is in the final stages of an EU procurement process to build the new campus at a site on Fabian Way, in addition to the regeneration of the university’s Singleton Park campus, to create world-leading research, innovation and education facilities.
Assuming everything goes to plan, work will begin on site early next year, with the first students arriving in 2015.
Vice-chancellor Richard B Davies said: “We are delighted to have obtained the green light from Neath Port Talbot Council and are most grateful for its support and positive engagement with this major project.
“In addition to enabling the university to build upon academic strengths, the new campus will be a driver for economic regeneration.
“The campus will be good for the university, good for Neath Port Talbot and good for the region.
“This ambitious project will enable us to attract inward investment to Wales and promote the growth of high-technology clusters. It will establish the region as a vibrant location for modern, high technology companies, bringing even greater eventual impact.”
Project director Iwan Davies said: “The new campus will deliver a next generation science park, co-locating university and industry researchers, students and academics — not only on the same site, but using the same laboratories and facilities. “This will not only provide knowledge transfer but also ensures that the curriculum followed and skills developed by our students are leading edge and relevant to the future needs of businesses.” Council deputy leader Peter Rees described it as a wonderful project.