UCLan takes ownership of £60 million Student Centre and University Square

Source: University of Central Lancashire 30 July 2021

Transformational gateway to become University’s new beating heart

University Square, Preston, Lancashire

The University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) stunning new £60 million Student Centre and University Square has today been handed over by the key contractors who have delivered the project.

Following more than 100 weeks of major construction work, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Graham Baldwin, was presented with a symbolic key as he was joined for an official photograph by representatives from AECOM, Bowmer + Kirkland, BDP and Hawkins\Brown, all of whom have played key roles  in the design and build of the landmark development.

. (L-R) David Maiden, AECOM Associate Director, Paul Sykes, NW Regional Director, Bowmer + Kirkland, Steve Merridew, BDP Engineering Director, UCLan Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Baldwin, James Thomson, Project Associate, Hawkins\Brown and UCLan Students’ Union President Zuleikha Chi.

Now open, the University Square will become the focal point of UCLan’s Preston Campus. Featuring Wi-Fi and plenty of seating, Preston’s first public square for 70 years* will be a place for students and local communities to come together and enjoy various University and public events.

Measuring 5,000 sqm, the University Square will play host to its first event in September when UCLan welcomes students and their families as they celebrate their graduations.

At night, the area will celebrate the city’s proud heritage with motion sensitive ‘light threads’, symbolising cotton strands, embedded into the natural stone granite paving, creating a stunning illuminated pathway and guiding visitors from the Square, through the Student Centre and into the main campus.

The new Student Centre is a 7,304 sqm facility including a spectacular rooftop terrace, informal learning spaces and a student wellbeing support centre. Work to install internal fixtures and fittings is progressing and the Centre will be ready to welcome students towards the end of September.

Commenting on today’s official opening, UCLan Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Baldwin said: “This is such a proud moment for the University, for Preston and for everyone connected with this much-anticipated and highly complex project which has been delivered within budget despite unprecedented worldwide circumstances.

“Our new Student Centre represents a superb new ‘front door’ for the University and underlines our commitment to continually enhancing our students’ experience. Work is continuing to complete the building’s interior and we are on schedule to officially open the doors for the first time when our students arrive for the start of the new term.”

David Taylor, Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the University Board, added: “This landmark development is a great example of the proud civic role we play in Preston’s continuing evolution.

“This new city gateway will be truly transformational, stimulating further economic regeneration that’s already making Preston a place where people want to live, work, study and spend quality free time.”

UCLan Students’ Union President Zuleikha Chikh said: “We’re looking forward to the new Student Centre opening and hope all students will be able to enjoy these fantastic new spaces on the Preston campus. Allowing students a central, modern and inviting point to speak to University staff will make accessing support so much easier for them. We are grateful the University has continually involved the Students’ Union in the project over the last six years. We can’t wait for the Student Centre and the University Square to come to life when students return in September.”

The new development is the culmination of UCLan’s Masterplan project, launched in 2015, which set out a vision to create a state-of-the-art, sustainable campus for students, staff, visitors and communities for years to come.

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