Minecraft takes over at Lancaster University

James Howard plays Minecraft at Lancaster University.
James Howard plays Minecraft at Lancaster University.

A team of high school students swapped their pens for computer games as they helped to recreate Lancaster University within the computer game Minecraft.

Boys from Our Lady’s Catholic College jumped at the chance to play the game about breaking and placing blocks which has sold more than 60m copies worldwide.

Brandan Dalby, 13 and Michael Hope, 14 at Lancaster University.

Brandan Dalby, 13 and Michael Hope, 14 at Lancaster University.

The university is aiming to become the first UK campus to be accurately recreated in the game.

More than 500 hours has been spent on the build so far – which is at an accurate scale of two bricks per metre.

Buildings so far recreated include Alexandra Square, the hub of Lancaster’s campus, the Ruskin Library, and the university’s newly completed Engineering building.

The digital skills event at the Management School saw Our Lady’s pupils help with the Balrigg Campus.

Jason Donnelly, 14, James Howard, 13 and Cameron Calvert, 14.

Jason Donnelly, 14, James Howard, 13 and Cameron Calvert, 14.

Dan Nixon, head of IT at Our Lady’s said: “A lot of the students have never been to a university before so today is a completely different atmosphere, it also gets them thinking about their future as well as learning about new technology.”

The ‘virtual’ build is expected to take between six and 12 months to complete, however one of the main purposes of the project is to raise awareness of the potential of digital skills for young people.

James Howard, from Our Lady’s, said: “Minecraft is almost like a computer version of Lego. It has got so much stuff to it, you can do anything on it.”

When completed, the build will allow prospective students to tour the campus even from the other side of the world.

Rob Ellis, from Lancaster University’s Innovation Hub, which is running the Minecraft campus build, said: “It is hugely important to engage young people at an early stage and to get them thinking about their future options – and that is what this Minecraft project is all about.”