Construction has begun on a brand new £12.25m state-of-the-art engineering building at Lancaster University.
The decision to invest and build the new high profile centre of excellence is set against a backdrop of a thriving global engineering industry.
The university’s long established engineering department has grown substantially, in both student and staff numbers and in reputation, in recent years.
General engineering at Lancaster is ranked 10th in the UK in the Complete University Guide and is, routinely, in the top 20 for engineering in other rankings.
The university has supported the engineering department’s significant growth in recent years with the recruitment of 20 new academic staff, most with international experience, to cater for the department’s 440 students.
But the original 1960s facilities were out-of-date and, at a practical level, were unable to support any long-term expansion.
The new development will provide additional areas for future growth and recent new specialismssuch as nuclear, energy and chemical engineering.
Designed by internationally-renowned architects John McAslan & Partners and developed by Lancashire-based Contractors Eric Wright Construction Ltd, the new building will be open for business by December 2014.
It will provide a world-class environment with specially designed workshops, teaching laboratories and office areas.
The two-winged development with a central atrium will house mechanical workshops and laboratories on the ground floor, electronics and chemical engineering on the first floor with levels three and four providing academic office space, study areas and meeting zones.
Head of the Engineering Prof Malcolm Joyce, who also holds a Personal Chair in nuclear engineering, is keen to point out the new building will have both an internal and external.
“We want to establish an engineering education centre in the north west that is a flagship and the new building will benefit all our work including our recent specialisms in nuclear, energy and chemical engineering,” he said.
“First impressions count. The new development will reaffirm our position in the UK.
“It will ensure we have the highest standard of facilities and it will raise our profile even further as a key provider of engineering education.”
Students, he added, would really benefit from the new inspired working and learning environment kitted out with all the latest, top-of-the-range equipment, workshops and laboratories.