New University of Bedfordshire library ‘tops out’

The University of Bedfordshire’s campus transformation took another step forward this week (Wednesday, 3rd June) with the ‘topping out’ of the new £46 million library in Luton.

Vice Chancellor Bill Rammell and representatives from the architects and constructors – mosescameronwilliams and Willmott Dixon respectively – travelled up to the top of the nine-level building to add the final bolt to the roof of the development.

Due for completion in early 2016, the 7,400sqm site is the latest in a series of investments in facilities, with the £25 million teaching and learning building at the University’s Bedford campus the most recent major project to be completed.

Surrounded by the newly-refurbished Business School and state-of-the-art student accommodation, the library is the jewel in the crown of the University’s ethos of combining a first-class, value-adding education with an uplifting student experience.

Mr Rammell said:

“Today is a momentous one for the University as we ‘top out’ a new landmark building for the Luton campus”

“When it opens next year, the library will provide a new focal point for the experience of our students.”

“We are dedicated to enhancing that experience and creating an environment in which all of our students can get the best out of their education.”

“Seeing the new library progress over the past and coming months is a sign, not only of the growth of the build, but of the University itself.”

Called the ‘Library’ but more akin to an all-in-one centre for learning, studying and socialising, it promises to join the Campus Centre and Postgraduate & CPD Centre in becoming the hub of the ever-evolving Luton campus.

In addition to its core premise as a library – almost half a million pounds has been spent building up the University’s book collection in preparation for the move – the building will house a range of other facilities.

Silent-study rooms, group-work areas and presentation-practice rooms join a ground floor café in creating a space truly geared to providing a motivational learning environment and enhancing the student experience.

Colin Moses, director at mosescameronwilliams architects, said:

“The Development Framework we produced for the University of Bedfordshire in 2007 sets out the long term strategy for the estate, and focuses on delivering projects which directly improve the student experience.”

“The construction of the new library is an exciting continuation of our successful relationship with both the University and the design team involved in the campus redevelopment.”

Stephanie Hensman, Community Engagement Manager for Willmott Dixon, added:

“From a construction point of view, the library is a terrific addition to the University campus. It is both unique and recognisable, and has the longevity and adaptability to be a key facility for the long term.”

“We are delighted to be constructing this new University landmark and proud to be marking this milestone in its development.”

Ever since construction began in 2014, the sustainability of the new library has been high on the agenda, with a BREEAM excellent rating targeted.

Heating and hot water needs will be met by a district heating system connected to the University’s other buildings. It will also be highly thermally efficient, keeping down energy consumption as well as CO2 emissions, while a rainwater harvesting system will also be present.

An exhibition – open to students, staff and visitors – showcasing information about the new library will be situated in the Gallery Space on the ground floor of the Campus Centre from Monday, 8th June to Friday, 12th June, before moving to the Learning Resources Centre. Amongst other material, the exhibition will feature photographs of the topping out ceremony, architect’s drawings and a video incorporating footage of the build.