The University of Central Lancashire has today opened the long-awaited £60m Student Centre and University Square.Advertisement
UCLan said the development, measuring 12,304 sqm, will give students access to an extensive network of support and a ‘modern environment to work and relax’.
The building and its surroundings are expected to become the beating heart of the campus, home to student support services and the main visitor gateway and entrance.
UCLan said the development showcases the university’s commitment to student wellbeing and represents a transformative step in the regeneration of Preston.
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They went on to say that each aspect of the 7,304 sqm Student Centre building has been constructed with sustainability, accessibility and student wellbeing in mind, offering a place to study, socialise and access support under one roof.
Graham Baldwin, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Central Lancashire, said: “After years in the making, we are so proud to finally launch the Student Centre and University Square today and open its doors to our students, both new and existing.
“We are committed to unlocking the potential of our students in every aspect of their lives, and this step forward reflects that. After such a difficult year, it is a triumphant and historic moment to see students return from the summer holidays and our first years arrive to start their journey right here.”
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Alongside indoor communal areas, study spaces and an expansive rooftop garden, the new facility is home to the full breadth of UCLan’s student support services, from mental health provision and careers advice to course information and accommodation assistance.
Linked to the new Student Centre, and as part of its post-Covid-19 focus on student resilience, confidence and wellbeing, UCLan has introduced a new Transition to Higher Education programme to support students pre-arrival and through their first semester.
The initiative offers study skills training and wellbeing resources to help the transition from school to university life.
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The Student Centre’s roof garden will be home to 150,000 honeybees, relocated from UCLan’s Westleigh House in Cottam, where they have been grown and nurtured for the last three years.
During the Campus Masterplan project, many thousands of new plants, shrubs and trees were planted across campus, which the bees will help pollinate.
Featuring Wi-Fi and seating, the 5,000 sqm University Square will become a new focal point in UCLan’s Preston campus. UCLan hopes that the new facility will bring the city and university closer together, as it offers a location to host large-scale events, such as graduation ceremonies and festivals.
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Motion-sensitive light threads have been embedded into the square, which at night create an illuminated pathway, guiding visitors into the Student Centre and central campus beyond. Designed by lighting consultants Jason Bruges Studio, the feature symbolises cotton strands and is a proud reference to the city’s cotton heritage.
David Taylor, Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the University Board, said: “Beyond being a student wellbeing hub, the Student Centre and surrounding area are going to play a huge role in strengthening our ties with Preston and supporting its continuing evolution both economically and socially.
“The Student Centre is a magnificent piece of architecture, which has been a collaborative process from start to finish, and will act as a gateway to the university and city, something that we can all enjoy and be proud of.”
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The new development is the culmination of UCLan’s £200m Masterplan project, launched in 2015, which set out a vision to create a unified, sustainable and welcoming campus that will enhance the experience for all those visiting the university and benefit the local area.
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