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The University of Winchester’s new building underway

Building work has now begun on our new teaching and learning building at The University of Winchester, West Downs. To mark the start of construction, we hosted an official ground-breaking ceremony on 18 January. University Vice-Chancellor Professor Joy Carter DL, CBE turned the first sod, alongside Andy Steele, CEO of construction company Osborne, and Alan Titchmarsh DL, MBE, Chancellor of the University. Andy Steele presented Professor Carter and Alan Titchmarsh with an engraved spade to commemorate the event in front of guests which included Mayor of Winchester Cllr David McLean.

Professor Joy Carter said: “I am delighted work is now under way on this exciting new development at West Downs, which represents a significant investment for both the University and the city of Winchester. As a values-driven institution, we are passionate about creating an environment in which students can flourish as individuals: this project is both a symbol of that passion and of our commitment to high standards of academic achievement.”

The building has been designed by award-winning Winchester based architects, Design Engine, and is being built by Osborne, one of the UK’s leading construction businesses. It will meet the highest environmental standards with sustainable features ranging from bird boxes to rainwater recycling. Turn to the centre pages to find out more about the new building’s Green credentials. Reaching hundreds of feet into the air, the two tower cranes now on the West Downs construction site are hard to miss.

Tower cranes are a common fixture on major construction sites and are used to lift steel, concrete and a wide variety of other building materials, as well as large tools and equipment. Tower crane 1 soars to 88 metres and its working arm – or jib – is 50 metres long, while the smaller tower crane reaches 72.5 metres, with a jib 35 metres in length. They each took a day to erect on site and will be dismantled by May 2019.

The new teaching and learning building at West Downs, next to the Grade II listed West Downs Centre, will be home to the University’s Digital Futures computer and digital-related degree programmes and business and management courses.

The contemporary design by Winchester-based Design Engine Architects will provide first-class facilities and features social learning areas and teaching spaces, a library, a 250-seat auditorium, art gallery, courtyard garden, café and food hall. The building represents an important investment in the University’s future. As a successful values-driven higher education institution, we aim to maintain our strong position in the higher education sector in the years ahead, improving our estate, facilities and learning resources to enable excellence and ensure that the University is an automatic first choice for undergraduates.

The project also provides a new gateway, linking the University and the city and creating an impressive addition to Winchester’s civic buildings on the main route into the city centre from the south‑west, where it will be visible from Romsey Road.
Construction began in January 2018 and will take approximately two years to complete.