The £4m plan to transform diver training centre
A £4 MILLION project to transform Plymouth University's diver training centre will be a "bold and distinctive statement" reflecting the city's marine heritage, according to a leading professor.
Plans to renovate and extend the Diving and Marine Centre at Coxside were revealed at a public exhibition on Wednesday evening.
The centre, which allows marine and maritime students to undertake diving training as part of their degree, was built in the 1960s and is badly in need of a re-fit.
Dr Alex Nimmo Smith, associate professor in marine physics, said: "This building is past its sell by date. It is a 50-year-old building. It is very restrictive for the activities that currently take place but also what we would like to be able to do in the future."
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The existing site has just two classrooms and students currently have to make the journey from the main campus in order to access the waterfront.
Dr Nimmo Smith said: "It's about making this site more attractive.
"What we would really like to be able to do is have more space available so we can do practical and educational work as well as training at this site.
"We can educate our students in the environment that they are interested in."
The plans, which will be submitted to Plymouth City Council at the end of this month, include a new two-storey building along with storage facilities for diving equipment.
The university has earmarked £4 million for the build, which could start this spring and is expected to be completed within a year.
Dr Nimmo Smith added: "It's that growing reputation for marine that the university has, in both education and research, that has brought this investment.
"It will make a bold and distinctive statement for the university."
The proposals will also see the creation of a marine science trail on the nearby foreshore, offering an educational experience for students, schools and members of the public.
Professor Wendy Purcell, university vice-chancellor, said: "Marine is at the very heart of the university and the city's heritage and underpinned our award last year of the prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize.
"It is an area that defines us on the world stage and one that we will continue to invest in and grow.
"Coxside is an important asset that with the right vision will enable the university to build on its standing, providing a unique waterfront campus affording students a near seamless transition from the lecture theatre out into the marine environment."