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3 June 2024

Beam Signing Event Marks Milestone for Flagship Wrexham University Development

A beam signing ceremony has marked the next stage of development of the Enterprise Engineering and Optics Centre (EEOC) at Wrexham University.

Colleagues from the university, Wynne Construction and Ambition North Wales came together for the event to sign their names on the steel beam, which is forming part of the structure of the new building.

The EEOC development is a trail-blazing build, which will deliver a specialist centre for research and development, business collaboration and skills development in optics, photonics and composites as lightweight alternatives for manufacturing, offering support to regional manufacturing businesses in reducing their environmental impact.

Work on the centre is well underway, following on from construction getting started back in February.

Professor Maria Hinfelaar, Vice-Chancellor at Wrexham University, said:

“It was brilliant to hold the beam signing ceremony to mark this milestone in the project. It’s wonderful to think that everyone’s signatures will be here for as long as the building is.

“We are incredibly pleased with how the EEOC build is progressing at pace, and now that the framework is up, everyone can start to see how the building is taking shape.

“Once complete and operational the EEOC will have an extremely positive impact on our local economy. It will provide the region’s businesses and researchers, as well as our students and staff, with access to cutting-edge research, business collaboration and skills development in optics, photonics and composites as lightweight alternatives for manufacturing.

“As work progresses on the build, I’d like to extend our thanks to Wynne Construction for all of their hard work, as well as partners from the North Wales Growth Deal – as this would not be possible without their investment.”

Councillor Mark Pritchard, Vice-Chair of the North Wales Economic Ambition Board and Leader, Wrexham County Borough Council, said:

“It was an honour to be part of the beam signing as this transformational building is really coming to life. The EEOC is the first Growth Deal construction project, so every stage of this development is a huge milestone. It is designed as a low-carbon, nature-positive building and is testament to what can be achieved by working collaboratively across the public and private sectors.”

Through all of its campus investment works through the overarching Campus 2025 strategy, the university is committed to reducing its environmental impact – and the design team have worked hard to carefully select materials, which ensure this.

To reduce the carbon impact of the frame as much as possible, the project team have worked closely with the team at Buckley-based Steel 4 Structures Limited to source low-carbon steel for the material used on site. The steel being used is made from recycled steel, produced in an Electric Arc Furnace (EAF) which uses less energy that a traditional furnace. EAFs also produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions, compared to traditional steelmaking methods, making them more environmentally friendly.

Richard Beatson MCIAT, Design & Building Information Modelling (BIM) Manager at Wynne Construction, added:

“It’s a pleasure to experience another milestone in this fantastic project and be able to sign my name on a high-tech building, fit for future generations to thrive in engineering and cutting-edge science.

“I’m also delighted that with our clients and build partners we secured recycled steel which is made in an electric arc furnace that produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions, enabling us to achieve maximum eco credentials for this element of the project.”

The EEOC project will be delivered across two of the university sites – the Plas Coch campus in Wrexham and the OpTIC Technology Centre at the St Asaph campus. Growth Deal funding through Ambition North Wales, will provide £11.55 million of the total value of the project.

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