FHWS is changing its face

The FHWS sites in Schweinfurt and Würzburg will be developed in the coming years

 © Simone Friese

The campus of the future is coming into being in Schweinfurt where, until a few years ago, a barracks still stood. The Faculty of Business and Engineering is just the beginning here. In Würzburg too, FHWS is adjusting spatially for the increasing number of students in the long term.

FHWS – the orange logo is already on the glass door of the modern, bright building. All around it, everything is silent – except the slight permeating noise of the four-lane road which runs directly past the Ledward Barracks area. The last hoardings still reveal that the finishing touches are being put in before moving in and the opening. They also fence off the already paved road, the small trees and benches which are officially waiting to be populated by students. With a little imagination, you can already see them sitting there: a coffee in the right hand, smartphone in the left.

The new Schweinfurt Ledward campus takes shape

You can see immediately that something is afoot when you stand on the vast site of the former barracks in Schweinfurt. When the Ledward Barracks area became available again with the Wehrmacht's loss in 1945 and the withdrawal of the Americans in 2014 after almost eight decades, the city held an urban development competition together with the Land of Bavaria. In the background was the question: How should the former barracks be developed? By tearing down almost all of the old barracks buildings, an extensive open space was created in the middle of the city. As well as the city itself, FHWS also registered a need to use the space, making it “almost eight of the total of 26 hectares which FHWS has for expansion planning,” Holger Richterstetter, Head of Construction in Higher Education at the Schweinfurt State Building Authority knows.

Construction of the 1.2 hectare building for the Faculty of Business and Engineering finally began in 2018. “That is the first building block that we were able to place there. One of many which will hopefully follow,” comments Normen Langner, Vice President of Construction and Occupational Safety at FHWS. The first building block in the new, predominantly international i-Campus: the Ledward Campus. The i-Campus is a project for an international FHWS university campus which will be built in Carus-Park in Schweinfurt. Now, two years later, construction of the first building has been completed in good time for handover for the 2020 winter semester. The grand opening of the building was ultimately delayed until better times owing to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, FHWS held a press conference with representatives of the regional press at the end of October.

Quote Normen Langner: Studying there, the buildings, the green spaces – it’s really great.

The i-factory: an attraction for young scientists

The first building will also soon be getting neighbours. “The second building is already in the planning stage; preparations for the start of the architects’ competition for the CERI building directly opposite the currently finished building are ongoing,” says Vice President Langner. CERI stands for “Center Robotics” and already reveals: it is the first building in the new i-factory and is also the home of the new Robotics bachelor's degree programme. “The building will have a central area in which industrial production lines can be integrated. There, we will be able to undertake, test and optimise specific work steps with the robots which we develop in the robotics degree programme,” says Langner. “This is about the concept idea ‘Industry on campus’ which, alongside the ‘Science from campus’, ‘Open robotics centre’ and ‘Community forum’ concepts, implements the aspiration of the open-to-all campus.” The planned drone landing area on the roof of the building for research and development in logistics with drones is another distinctive feature. Lecture rooms, laboratories and offices around the central production area round out the i-factory concept.

According to Gerald Langer, Head of Structural Engineering at the Schweinfurt State Building Authority, the forthcoming development is a step in the right direction for the attractiveness of Schweinfurt as a place of study: “Studying there, the buildings, the green spaces – it’s really great.” However, Langer adds that the new campus is just one of several factors which play a role in making Schweinfurt a more attractive place to study.

The planned developments on the city’s part and the location of the new campus are also factors. A new city hall will be built on the part of Ledward Barracks, now called Carus-Park, used by the city. The Willy-Sachs stadium is right nearby, and Carusallee will run right across Carus-Park between all this in the future; a green connecting axis. Last but not least, the first horticultural show in the city of Schweinfurt will also contribute to an image boost for the location. It will take place in 2026 in parts of the new Carus-Park.

Quote Gerald Langer: Studying there, the buildings, the green spaces – it's really great.

Other locations in Schweinfurt:

  • Ignaz-Schön-Straße 11: the Faculty of Applied Natural Sciences and Humanities, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Business and Engineering are located here.
  • Konrad-Zuse-Straße 2: the Faculty of Business and Engineering can be found here.
  • Johann-Modler-Weg 2: the International Office, the Campus for Applied Research, the Campus for Professional Development and the Campus for Language Proficiency can be found here.
  • Amsterdamstraße 16-18: the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and the Institute of Digital Engineering are located here.
  • Konrad-Geiger-Straße 2: the robotics degree programme is temporarily accommodated here.

A clear three-site policy in Würzburg

Many things seem like a “synchronous development of Würzburg, just at staggered intervals,” observes Holger Richterstetter from the Schweinfurt Building Authority. The horticultural show already took place in the new Hubland district in Würzburg in 2018. And also in Hubland, on Sanderheinrichsleitenweg, students from various degree programmes have now been meeting in a new building for nine years. This first new FHWS building in almost 30 years could be opened just in time for the 2011/2012 winter semester, following two local referendums. The award-winning, modern building complex, with a broad view of the green spaces, still impresses today.

The new build on Sanderheinrichsleitenweg is one of the FHWS sites in Würzburg, which observes a clear three-site policy there. The Tiepolo building at the Münzstraße site has also been part of the infrastructure resources for several years. It was gradually taken over by the Water Authority, then entirely taken over in 2016 for the next five years. However, the building should then continue to be used to house the Faculty of Applied Social Sciences, rooms for professors of the Faculty of Business Administration and Economics or the International Office.

View of the Campus Sanderheinrichsleitenweg
The new building on Sanderheinrichsleitenweg was ceremonially opened in 2009. (© S. Scherbel)
Photo by Stefan Bausewein: FHWS building on Röntgenring
The Plastics and Rubber Engineering, Surveying and Geoinformatics, Architecture, and Civil Engineering degree programmes have their home on the Röntgenring. (© Stefan Bausewein)

Other spaces in Würzburg

  • Friedrichstraße 17a: the Business Administration and Media Management degree programmes can be found here.
  • Randersackererstraße 15: the Campus for Professional Development and Language Proficiency is located here.
  • Veitshöchheimer Straße 1a: the Architecture and Civil Engineering degree programmes have their home here.

The premises on the Röntgenring, which were taken over from the University of Würzburg in 1978 and 1991, are also FHWS Würzburg sites. The number of students in Würzburg has risen constantly in recent years. In the 2020/2021 winter semester, however, student numbers dropped owing to coronavirus. But more space is needed in light of the applicable social distancing rules. “It has been confirmed that there is a need for space in Würzburg. But no new builds are on the cards at the moment,” says Vice President Langner. But there are expansions nevertheless – in the sense of new leases. These are also particularly needed for the CAIRO competence centre (CAIRO – Competence Center Artificial Intelligence and Robotics) which will also focus particularly intensively on AI themes in Würzburg within the context of Bavaria’s High-Tech Agenda.

With the developments at both locations, FHWS is taking a major step, as a higher education institution, towards “becoming an international competence centre for artificial intelligence and robotics,” Langner summarises. In ten or fifteen years, the current Ledward Barracks area will be unrecognisable. With a bit of imagination, you can see the colourful hustle and bustle already. Passers-by amble along Carusallee, others play Frisbee or sit on benches and read. And in the middle of it all: students with the opportunity to combine science and practical application on a stateoftheart campus.

Profilfoto Anne Köppen

An article by
Anne Köppen