An official Turf Cutting at Wrexham University took place on Thursday (February 22) to mark the start of work on a new multi-million-pound project.

Fay Jones MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales and Rebecca Evans MS, Minister for Finance and Local Government were joined on site at Wrexham University’s Plas Coch Campus in Wrexham by representatives from the University, Ambition North Wales and Wynne Construction.

Together they marked the occasion of construction commencing on the site of the new Enterprise Engineering and Optics Centre (EEOC). 

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 £11.55m of the total value of the project.  

The development is a pioneering 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 regional manufacturing businesses support in reducing the environmental impact of their products and processes. 

Councillor Dyfrig Siencyn, Lead Member for the Innovation in High Value Manufacturing programme and Chair of the North Wales Economic Ambition Board, said: “This is a huge milestone for the North Wales Growth Deal. It is our first construction project and has been designed as a low-carbon, nature-positive building, the first that will deliver against our sustainability targets. It demonstrates that by working collaboratively across the public and private sectors we can achieve great things – economic development, investment, jobs and training - all supporting our vision for a smart, connected, resilient and sustainable region.” 

Professor Maria Hinfelaar, Vice-Chancellor at Wrexham University, said: “The breaking of the ground to mark the start of work on our pioneering Enterprise Engineering and Optics Centre is an incredibly proud day for all at the University – and I would like to take this opportunity to thank colleagues for their hard work in getting the project to this point.  

“This milestone development would not be possible without investment from the North Wales Growth Deal.  

“We are also delighted that Wynne Construction will be delivering this build. We are confident that the Centre will be of a high-standard in terms of design, functionality and also, in demonstrating significant carbon emissions reductions, all while delivering vast social value to North Wales.” 

Richard Day, Professor of Composites Engineering and Pro Vice Chancellor for Research at Wrexham University, said: “The Enterprise Engineering and Optics Centre will provide our students, staff, as well as industry partners, with access to cutting-edge research, business collaboration and skills development in optics, photonics and composites as lightweight alternatives for manufacturing. 

“It will serve as a specialist centre, which will help us to develop and enhance the future curriculum of engineering, here at Wrexham."


Chris Wynne, managing director, Wynne Construction, said: “We are thrilled to be part of this transformative development for Wrexham University. We look forward to bringing our expertise, and working together with the University team and partners, to create a first-class building that leaves a lasting legacy for Wrexham and the North Wales region."

Fay Jones MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, said: “I was delighted to be in Wrexham to see the start of the delivery of this fantastic project. The new Enterprise Engineering and Optics Centre promises to be a brilliant facility for Wrexham University and their industry colleagues.  

“The UK Government is proud to invest in the North Wales Growth Deal, helping to bring about real change in North Wales by creating jobs and spreading prosperity through projects just like this.”