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Friday 11 July 2014

Solent's new build is underway

Work has begun on the stunning new £30 million teaching and learning building at Southampton Solent University’s East Park Terrace campus.

The University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Van Gore, Governor Graham Holland and Student Union Vice President Education Hannah Watts, were joined by Justin Elliott, Associate Director at Interserve – the project’s main contractors – to mark the sinking of the first piling in the foundation of the new building.

Solent University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Van Gore with Hannah Watts, Solent Students’ Union Vice-President for Education on the building site

During the site visit, Solent Vice-Chancellor Professor Gore said: “It’s a massively imaginative and exciting project for the University. It’s been years in the planning and I am thrilled to be here today to see it start to take shape. It marks the University’s coming of age.”

Once completed, the new building will include dedicated teaching and learning spaces, as well as new conference facilities and exhibition space that will also be available to local business and community groups.

Justin Elliott, Associate Director of Interserve spoke of the company’s excitement about working on such an innovative project. He said: “We are a locally based company that employs a number of graduates from the University’s built environment degree courses – about twelve at the last count –and so we recognise how important it will be for the University and local community. Being part of that community, we wanted to be the company constructing it.”

Designed by Scott Brownrigg, a spectacular atrium will form the central hub of the new block. The centre piece will be a multifunctional suspended ‘pod’ housing a lecture theatre and viewing platform above.

“I think this project is going to have a really positive impact on the experience of our students,” says Hannah Watts, Vice-President for Education at the University’s Students’ Union. “As well as new teaching areas, the extra study locations will help create a real sense of community and we are all so excited to see such an innovative development start to become a reality for everyone involved with the University.”

The first stage is due for completion by the end of December 2015. As part of the work commencement ceremony a detailed agreement was formally signed by main contractor Interserve and the University.

Looking ahead, Professor Van Gore said, “This new building will be a symbol for everyone – staff, students and those who are going to study here in the future – about what a distinctive and special place Southampton Solent University is.”