Teesside University is spending £6m on a major refurbishment of its science and engineering department.
A three-storey glass extension will be added to the Orion building allowing passers-by to see in.
The university is also upgrading laboratories and workshops and investing in the latest industry-standard equipment.
Deputy chief executive Malcolm Page said it was part of a "major programme of investment" on campus.
The university is also spending around £30m "developing the campus heart" with a £20m teaching and learning building and a £1m refurbishment of the Students' Union.
A flight simulation laboratory will be developed for aerospace engineering students, with a full-size aircraft for design projects.
The work is due to be finished by summer 2015.
Dean of the school of science and engineering Simon Hodgson said the new facilities would help produce graduates "destined to become the next generation of leaders of our science and engineering industries".