Sunderland University plans to invest up to Pounds 1 million in creating an educational facility for people working in glass, ceramics and related arts at the city's National Glass Centre (left), writes Nigel Burnham.
The university wants to convert the 17,500ft2 workspace, occupied by Sunderland Glassworks until it closed last December into teaching and research accommodation and to encourage and support new glass and ceramics-based businesses.
The move would make the university the centre's major tenant and would help secure its future after a period of uncertainty.
Administrators say the university is negotiating a 50-year lease, which brings forward by three years one element of its scheme - to create a Pounds 20 million centre of excellence for arts, design and the media on a site next to the glass centre, which is scheduled to open in September 2003.
Vice-chancellor Peter Fidler said: "We are committed to ensuring the Glass Centre succeeds."