26 July 2012
Work starts on new FE building for West Suffolk College
Construction has begun on a landmark building for West Suffolk College designed by multi-disciplinary consultancy Pick Everard.
Set for completion in summer 2013, the £7m scheme is part of the further education college’s masterplan, already winning accolades for its state of the art design.
Boosting further and higher education within the region and promoting a cohesive new identity for the Bury St Edmunds campus, the new building in Out Risbygate will form the hub of the college, creating a stunning new entrance to the campus, with 3,600 sq m of accommodation, improved study facilities, student support and recreational areas.
The scheme is designed to blend as one with the adjacent Suffolk House. This 1960s-built former public face of the college has undergone a £1.8m award-winning transformation, recently recognised by The Bury Society for its outstanding modern design in enhancing the town. Suffolk House forms an exciting new focus for higher education at University College Suffolk Bury St Edmunds. An original plan to demolish and rebuild was shelved following the collapse of Learning and Skills Council funding. Instead the building underwent a radical facelift, with the new façade completed last summer. The radical refurbishment is designed to improve the building’s environmental performance, with new windows and contemporary recladding. Solar gain is reduced with distinctive metallic brise soleil fins which prevent internal heat build up inside the classrooms. The interior has been remodelled with glass corridors, improved lighting, heating and ventilation, plus a spacious new student common room.
A similar project for the rear of the building is set to go ahead this summer, ready for the new academic year this autumn.
Pick Everard also led the refurbishment of the Milburn Centre, in Anglian Lane, launched in May relocating the college’s construction industry teaching. As well as purpose-built facilities for traditional training, The Milburn Centre houses a Low Carbon Energy exhibition and demonstration centre, showcasing techniques such as photovoltaic energy and heat exchange pumps.
Pick Everard has been involved in West Suffolk College projects for over 10 years and in 2007, successfully delivered Leonardo House. The clean modern lines that characterise the new build arts and science block were the catalyst for current projects.
The college masterplan has since evolved, redressing funding shortfalls with on-going schemes that combine new building with refurbishment incorporating state-of-the-art, sustainable practice to establish a campus for the future.
Richard Torkington, Pick Everard Senior Architectural Technologist at Pick Everard in Bury St Edmunds commented:
“The focus on the use of sustainable materials in new build and refurbishment projects reflects the aspirational focus of the college masterplan, shown in practice with the teaching of renewable technology at The Milburn Centre. In the current economic climate this project is seen as a landmark example of the way in which existing buildings can be improved in a cost-effective way, setting a benchmark for the future.”
Pick Everard is currently working on a number of major school, college and university projects across the UK including Northampton, Dudley and Bristol Colleges and Manchester and Aberystwyth universities. The practice has renowned expertise in educational construction and an award-winning project history including Stephenson College, Madani High School, Derby High School and Leicester Grammar School.