University’s £60m Student Centre reaches milestone

Topping Out marked at the site

The University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) flagship Masterplan development reached a major milestone as construction of the £60m Student Centre and Civic Square reached its highest point.

Representatives from UCLan and contractor Bowmer + Kirkland celebrated the milestone with a topping out ceremony on the roof of the new centre.

Meanwhile, a range of new images from the interior of the construction have been released, showing outstanding design features including the wooden staircase and cross-laminated timber flooring.

The centre’s exterior is made up of 450 tonnes of primed steel – 1,520 pieces of steel in all – and reaches 16.5 metres in height.

The steel-framed centre will accommodate all UCLan student services from 2021, including a new reception area, informal learning spaces, a student wellbeing centre, while the Civic Square will provide an outdoor events space for city and community use.

Once completed the development is also planned to create a greener environment on the previous Adelphi roundabout for students, staff and residents to enjoy, with more than 300 new trees being planted and a 50,000-strong bee colony on the roof of the centre.

Prof Graham Baldwin, vice-chancellor of the University of Central Lancashire, said: “A lot of staff, students and residents won’t have been able to spend time on campus recently to see the Student Centre construction rise. But we’ve been able to work safely throughout the lockdown so that the centre can be open and ready to support students from next year.

“In addition to the centre construction, the highways work by Balfour Beatty continues to progress, and visitors to the site around the Adelphi roundabout can start to see the masterplan becoming a reality.”

Bowmer + Kirkland regional director, Neil Brook, said: “We are delighted with the progress we have made, particularly during the challenges faced due to COVID-19.

“The Student Centre is the pinnacle of UCLan’s masterplan development and we are honoured to be playing our part in that success.”

AECOM project director, David Maiden, added: “It’s fantastic to reach this milestone, particularly in the current restricted climate.

“B+K has very carefully considered and applied the guidance from the Government and the Construction Leadership Councils for operating construction sites and their commitment to keep the project moving has been exemplary.

“We very much look forward to completion next year and to the facility having a significantly positive impact on the student experience at UCLan.”

The £200m masterplan development also includes previously completed buildings of two new student spaces, the OASIS multi-faith centre and the £35m Engineering Innovation Centre on Corporation Street.