The school children of Our Lady and St Anne’s RC Primary School in the West End of Newcastle created drawings of what Science Central, one of the largest inner city regeneration projects in the UK, will look like in 20 years’ time.
A time capsule was laid within the foundations of the scheme’s landmark first building, along with Newcastle City Council Leader Cllr Nick Forbes, and Newcastle University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, Professor Nick Wright.
With building work now under way, a masterplan and outline planning consent in place, and a funding package in excess of £30 million secured to develop the initial phases of the site, Science Central is now officially open for business.
Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said: “Science Central will be focal point for Newcastle’s high-tech businesses, giving them access to the facilities and knowledge they need to innovate and grow. This time capsule marks an important milestone for Science Central, and has given local children the opportunity to think about the positive change that the development will bring to their city.”
Director of Newcastle Science City Alison Fellows said: “The Science Central site will be a place that lives up to its name - positioned in the heart of the city - it will be central to Newcastle’s economic future and to the lives of those living and working here. The vision of the site in the school children’s drawings shows just how important this area is to them, and how excited they are by what is being built – we were all impressed with their imaginative drawings that have now been buried in time to mark the foundations being laid on our first building.”
Construction of the first building in now in full swing, with completion expected by Autumn 2014. It will include a seven-storey office building for new and growing science companies, and the project partners are keen to emphasise what a desirable investment opportunity this is – funded by the Regional Growth Fund, European Regional Development Fund, and new funding arrangements negotiated with central government under the Newcastle City Deal.
Cllr Forbes said: “Science Central is part of the high-tech revolution transforming our city for generations to come. It’s about creating highly skilled employment opportunities for youngsters like those here today burying the time capsule, and using our past to inform and shape our future.”
Professor Wright said: “Science Central will combine cutting-edge architecture with new public spaces, the world-renowned expertise of Newcastle University and leading-edge businesses, to create a unique location in the heart of the city. With work now underway on the first building, we will see the rise of a new quarter, central to Newcastle’s economic future and a hub for the scientific growth of the city.”
Michael O’Brien, Head teacher of Our Lady and St Anne’s RC Primary School, said: “We’re delighted to share in this exciting milestone for Science Central, and with ours to be the last school on the site, we have a strong connection with it. The children have really embraced their task in visualising what it’ll look like in years to come – they could be the people living and working here, and very much look forward to being part of it.”
To follow each stage of the project’s development, and to see a selection of the children’s drawings, tour our website.