Work begins on new £6.5m Liverpool Hope centre

Michael Hunt

Construction work on Liverpool Hope University's new £6.5m Creative & Performing Arts Centre gets underway today.

The award-winning TV producer and former chief executive of Channel 4, Sir Jeremy Isaacs, turns the first bolt on the final phase of the university's Cornerstone Campus redevelopment.

The new three-storey centre, located on Shaw Street, north Liverpool, will include ten music practice rooms, three music studios, three music technology laboratories, and music therapy rooms.

A Performance Hall with tiered seating for 300-plus capacity, a library, an exhibition gallery, and extensive facilities for business incubation and a selection of teaching rooms extended across three floors also feature.

Sir Jeremy Isaacs, who is returning to Liverpool today to receive an honorary Doctorate from Liverpool Hope University, said of the new centre: "I am particularly glad to be here for the beginning of construction for a new centre for the Creative and Performing Arts at The Cornerstone. I am sure it will prove to be a huge asset for the university and city of Liverpool."

Professor Bill Chambers, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Provost of The Cornerstone Campus, said: "The new centre, which has been in development for more than ten years, will provide opportunities for business development and set ups in the north end of the city for graduate students and local entrepreneurs and a new venue where the city can learn, experience and enjoy the very best in performing arts."

The development will act as a gateway to northern Liverpool linking the London Road area across Islington to Everton Park.

Funding for the new centre was awarded by the North West Development Agency, who contributed £3m, and the Higher Education Funding Council for England as well as the university's own funding.

Steven Broomhead, chief executive at the North West Development Agency, added: "The skills base of the North West workforce is critical to the economic development of the region. The NWDA works hard to ensure that training, education and the development of skills is meeting the needs of employers and giving individuals the opportunities to succeed.

"In today's current economic climate it is essential the North West remains competitive and that businesses are able to utilise programmes that increase education and enterprise. Liverpool has an enviable track record within the arts and it is with great pleasure that we are able to work closely with partners and local businesses to enable new creative enterprises to thrive."

Commenting further on the project, Dr Martin Carey, chief executive of Urban Hope, said: "The university will be working with a range of partners, including the European Opera Centre, Collective Encounters Theatre for Social Change, MusicSpace Trust and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society as well as a range of local community groups to address the specific needs of employers and to provide more opportunities for study."

The new centre is scheduled for completion in November this year, with Allen Build awarded the construction contract.

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