THE county’s Lord Lieutenant visited town on Monday (December 2) to open a new building for the University of Brighton’s Hastings campus.
Peter Field was joined by council leader Jeremy Birch, John Shaw, the chief executive of Sea Change Sussex, and Mayor Alan Roberts at the ceremony in Priory Square.
He described the university as ‘an amazing corporate citizen’ as he opened the new facility. The event also marked 10 years of the University of Brighton in Hastings.
Mr Field said: “I have watched the university develop over the last 10 years. It is exciting to see what universities should be doing – going where they are needed.”
Professor Stuart Laing, the university’s deputy vice-chancellor, said the Hastings project started as a collaboration between a handful of universities. There were just three courses and 40 students. Today the Hastings campus offers 40 courses, has more than 100 members of staff and 850 students.
He said: “Demand for courses is high and the university has given local people opportunities that they wouldn’t have seen before. We have a successful cluster of courses. For example, around media production. Hastings now has a significant reputation which has brought students into the town. The new £7.5 million Priory Square building, which features state-of-the-art laboratories and social spaces, will help meet the increased demand for student places.”
Professor Julian Crampton, the university’s vice-chancellor, said: “The economic impact of the university is estimated to be £14 million a year on the town. The range of courses offered was developed uniquely to support individuals and businesses, as part of the town’s development.
“The 10th anniversary of the university in Hastings is an important milestone. We have now acquired a third academic building in the town, Lacuna Place, and there are plans to build accommodation for 200 students next to Hastings railway station. We have a strong commitment to Hastings. This extends to our sponsorship of two successful academies in the town, which both achieved good ratings in their latest Ofsted inspections.”
Lord John Mogg, chairman of the university’s Board of Governors, paid tribute to the senior management team and former director of the Hastings campus, Margaret Wallis, who retired earlier this year. He said: “Margaret has been instrumental to the success of Hastings and we will continue to build on these firm foundations.”