Construction of the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) £30 million-plus Engineering Innovation Centre (EIC), a major milestone within the £200 million Campus Masterplan, is underway.
The state-of-the art facility, which will establish UCLan as a leader in engineering innovation, is anticipated to produce an increase of 500 locally trained graduates per year in areas including aerospace, mechanical and energy technologies and engineering.
Staff, students, and companies within the region will have access to top of the range equipment including flight simulators, Formula One cars and specialist electronic labs, which will allow students to work on live, real world projects.
Manchester-based BAM Construction is on site delivering the scheme, which is due for completion in 2019.
Piling activities to form part of the foundations for the six-storey building have commenced, with a large piling rig now on site drilling 600mm diameter holes that are 25 meters long and filled with concrete and steel.
Once the foundations are complete, work will begin on the retaining wall and concrete cores of the building before starting the steel frame.
SimpsonHaugh has led on the design of the facility in collaboration with Reiach and Hall Architects. BDP, which was founded in Preston, is providing engineering expertise, while AA Projects is providing project management, employer’s agent, quantity surveying and CDM services.
Michael Ahern, Chief Operating Officer at UCLan, said:
“The start of work on site marks another exciting milestone for our Campus Masterplan and the creation of a powerful hub for developing and nurturing skills.
“The EIC will address the skills deficit in engineering specialists in Lancashire and nationally. A skilled engineering workforce is essential for the economy and the benefit of wider society.
“It has an important part to play, not just in confirming Lancashire’s role as a national centre for advanced manufacturing, but in maintaining the UK’s international leadership in engineering and innovation.”
Simon Atkinson, Project Manager for BAM, added:
“We are thrilled to have started construction of such an exciting building for UCLan and the first project in the Masterplan, that will transform the campus and the city of Preston.
“This is our 34th university project in the north west, so our team understands the importance of both minimising disruption and engaging staff, students and the local community in the project as much as possible.”
David Green, Partner at SimpsonHaugh, said:
“We are delighted to be involved in the creation of this dynamic, outward looking Engineering Innovation Centre which will act as a showcase for the work of UCLan, directly addressing the key public space at the heart of the university’s masterplan and providing a wide range of teaching, workshop and industry engagement spaces.”
Paul Hughes, Project Lead at AA Projects, commented:
“It is fantastic to see work commencing on site for this pioneering development that will help to drive innovation in the region and knowledge exchange between the University and wider industry.”
The EIC is an integrated teaching and research space which will deliver a range of key objectives, including ensuring that local skills reflect social and economic needs and increasing the number of females in engineering careers.
Identified as a signature project within Lancashire’s Strategic Economic Plan, the EIC has secured £10.5 million via the Lancashire Enterprise Partnerships’ Growth Deal with the Government. The new facility has also received £5.8 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and £5million from HEFCE’s STEM Capital Fund.