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University set to come to Chesterfield

Cllr Brian Ridgway, left, hands over the keys to St Helena Centre to Hari Punchihewa, from the University of Derby

Cllr Brian Ridgway, left, hands over the keys to St Helena Centre to Hari Punchihewa, from the University of Derby

The University of Derby is coming to Chesterfield in a move set to create new jobs and boost learning in the town.

The university looks set to move to the town’s landmark St Helena Centre in 2016, it has been revealed.

The Sheffield Road building, which was built in 1911, used to be a girls’ school and is currently used by Derbyshire County Council (DCC) as offices.

Councillor Brian Ridgeway, cabinet member for council services at DCC, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to give the university the opportunity to extend their work into Chesterfield – this is the best possible use for the St Helena Centre.

“The university will bring new jobs to the area and create opportunities for people from Chesterfield, NE Derbyshire and Bolsover to increase their qualifications and skills.”

A DCC spokesman added that the move would enable the university to strengthen its work with neighbouring Chesterfield College.

Hari Punchihewa, deputy chief executive and finance director at the University of Derby, said: “This acquisition extends our options to be of service to the town of Chesterfield and to help create jobs and bolster the higher education offer already in place there.

“The building is a wonderful structure which sits in a perfect location, being so close to town and the college.”

A spokesman for the University of Derby was unable to confirm at this stage how many jobs would be created in the move.

Major refurbishment would be required to bring the 2.2 acre site up to standard.

The girls’ school closed in the 1990s and the council used the Grade II listed building as offices until late 2013.

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