Work has begun on a £28m second teaching block – incorporating an interactive science lab – at the Anglia Ruskin University Peterborough campus with space for up to 1700 students studying science, technology, engineering, and maths.
The ‘living lab’ will host events and exhibitions such as a festival of ideas and will showcase the city’s Net Zero future by using immersive displays; it could attract up to 50,000 visitors a year and create hundreds of jobs.
Its aim is to engage and inspire residents and visitors in science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) topics.
A ceremonial spade was dug into the ground to mark the start took place yesterday (Wednesday) with representatives from the partners developing the university.
These included Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CAPCA), Peterborough City Council and Anglia Ruskin University.
This latest phase of the ARU Peterborough campus is on the site of the former regional pool car park, next to first teaching building, University House, which opened to students in September.
It is planned to open to in autumn 2024.
Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Dr Nik Johnson, said: “A major part of the development of ARU Peterborough has been the focus on collaboration and community – values which are at the core of my time as mayor.
“The university is already an open, friendly, accessible campus for the city and the Living Lab will really help to embed this emerging new university quarter as a new destination for residents and visitors alike.”
He added: “Showcasing the benefits of higher education and inspiring people in cutting edge science and technology is a big part of what ARU Peterborough is here to do, in a place where levels of skills, including in higher education, are behind the national average.
“It is fantastic to hit yet another milestone in the rapid and impressive development of this outstanding, award-winning campus and I look forward to seeing it come out of the ground.”
Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald, leader of Peterborough City Council, said: “Not so long ago, ARU Peterborough was seen as wishful thinking by some.
“It’s now been open nearly a whole academic year and has integrated well into our city.
“This ambitious third phase signals the demand and need for a larger campus – helping to further boost the skills and earning potential of our residents and bringing the whole city more economic prosperity in the years to come.”
The new building will support mainly STEM fields and expand the number of places for students. There will be specialist teaching labs, including in microbiology and engineering, flexible teaching spaces, and a social learning space.
The new building will be lower in height and smaller in size than the main University House.
It is planned to meet the requirements of an ‘excellent’ BREEAM rating, which is an industry-standard benchmark of a building’s sustainability, including aspects like energy efficiency.
The Living Lab and second teaching building represents another £30 million of investment into Peterborough.
This includes £20 million from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund, £4 million from Anglia Ruskin University, and £2 million from the CAPCA Business Board.
Peterborough City Council contributed the land for the project.
In a joint commitment, CAPCA, the city council and ARU have each recently approved additional funds to meet further construction and materials costs resulting from inflationary pressures.
Professor Roderick Watkins, Vice Chancellor of ARU, said: “This second teaching building will allow the university to expand the range of subjects that local people will be able to study, including the provision of postgraduate courses and degree apprenticeships, which is an area that ARU has a particular expertise in.”
Professor Ross Renton, Principal of ARU Peterborough, said: “ARU Peterborough has already made fantastic progress and we are already seeing immediate benefits since opening our doors to our first students last September.
“However, truly significant benefits for the region will be realised over the years to come when our highly skilled graduates start entering the local workforce, helping businesses to grow, and our academics and researchers are collaborating with local companies to jointly tackle the challenges of the future.”
Rebecca Stephens, member of the Combined Authority Business Board, said: “The Business Board has been fully behind the development of ARU Peterborough since the start. It is really fantastic to see such progress in a short space of time.
“The main objectives of the university, to boost skills through a mix of higher education delivery, including degree apprenticeships, and benefitting a range of local industries, are very much aligned with the ambitions of our Board’s Economic Growth Strategy.”
Jamie Shearman, area director for Morgan Sindall Construction in Cambridgeshire, said: “As a regional business, it is great to be celebrating work commencing at the university as we are excited to be working alongside Peterborough City Council, the Combined Authority and of course, the Anglia Ruskin University.
“The development will have a hugely positive impact on the wider community in Peterborough, delivering real social value through the creation of high-quality jobs within our local supply chains, and opening up opportunities for training and development for the next generation of construction professionals in the region.”
Can you help us?
While you’re here, we are asking, for the first time, for readers to support us financially by taking out a modest subscription.
£2, or £3 or even £5 will help us achieve our goals. It will mean the second year of CambsNews will be livelier, healthier, and much better placed to cover the important issues affecting our everyday lives.
Your subscription simply means we can provide and expand our news FREE to all readers (Read More)Will you help us? Simply click the link below to make a donation.