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

The construction of the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) stunning new £60m Student Centre and University Square has officially been completed.

The university’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Graham Baldwin, was presented with a symbolic key as he was joined for an official photograph by representatives all of the  main partners and suppliers, including our building services engineering team, which provided consultancy alongside our town planning, civil and structural engineering, acoustics and lighting teams.

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 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 in 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.

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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.

Building services engineering director, Steve Merridew, said: “We can be rightly proud of the new Student Centre and our role in bringing it to life, particularly as it will become a hub for the next generation of building engineers in the north.

“BDP was formed 60 years ago in Preston and has enjoyed a strong and lasting relationship with the city and the university – it’s wonderful to be able to continue working with UCLan to design such forward thinking and practical buildings for the students of today and of tomorrow – we are sure they will make the most of it.”

Commenting on the official opening, the  Vice-Chancellor  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.”

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.”

President of the UCLan Students’ Union 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 sets out a vision to create a state of the art, sustainable campus for students, staff, visitors and communities for years to come.