Last week Redbrick sat down with Ian Barker, Director of Estates, and Chris Twine, Director of Student Services, two of the management figures leading the University’s £175million campus redevelopments. The main proposals will see a brand new library, Sports Centre and an interior redevelopment of Block C of the Aston Webb Building completed by 2016. […]
Last week Redbrick sat down with Ian Barker, Director of Estates, and Chris Twine, Director of Student Services, two of the management figures leading the University’s £175million campus redevelopments.
The main proposals will see a brand new library, Sports Centre and an interior redevelopment of Block C of the Aston Webb Building completed by 2016.
Barker explained that the redevelopments are designed to assist the strategic framework the University has in place, part of which involves attracting the highest quality students to the campus.
Additionally ‘a really significant part of the University buildings were built in the 60’s and 70’s that wasn’t the construction industries finest hour and it was also a very long time ago.’
He further added that plans for redeveloping parts of campus have been in the works for over six years. The task groups for the redevelopment did include consulting a student representative from the Guild in addition to members of the administration at Birmingham as well as the community and the city council.
The Main Library
One of the key features of the future University of Birmingham campus will be the remodeled and completely brand new Main Library, which will be situated atop the current running track beside the old library.
Architecture plans for new library show that it is set to be a modern design, made up of glass, aluminum and brick. It will provide students with 16,000 square meters of floor space.
Addressing concerns from the student body about having a period of time without a library while construction is carried out, Chris Twine, Director of Student Services assured Redbrick that this would not be the case: ‘there is no question of closing down the main library for a period of time waiting for the new library’.
‘That’s one of the good things about having the new library on a separate site: that we can build that completely dependant and still have the main library open as usual’ Twine added.
Once the new library is completed, the old library will be knocked down to make way for a landscaped green space at the heart of campus.
Because the new library will take the place of the running track, the University will, for a period of time, be without one before the new one can be built where the Munrow Sports Centre currently stands.
The Sports Centre
The University of Birmingham’s new Sports Centre is set to stand on the spot currently occupied by the Gun Barrels, which was acquired by the University several years ago. The pub itself closed down earlier this week to make room for the new Sports Centre.
The new centre will include a 50-metre pool, a 15-court sports hall and a climbing wall, updating the current facilities. Turner noted that the Sports Centre, like the main library, has never had such a comprehensive refurbishment.
The current Munrow Sports Centre will be demolished and will then be home to the new running track in the near future.
Aston Webb Block C
The Aston Webb Block C, coined the ‘Student Hub’, is another area of campus set to undergo redevelopment. The idea of creating a Hub at the University dates back to 2005 and has, according to Chris Twine, involved a great deal of student consultation in bringing together the proposals.
He explained that ‘The Aston Webb building isn’t really used a great deal by students at the moment despite being at the centre of campus.’
‘It is an iconic building and we want to make sure our iconic buildings are accessed and used as much as possible by students.’
To achieve this, there is set to be significant remodeling to the interior of the Aston Webb Building to create a hub for students to access important services offered by the university. ‘We avoid calling it a ‘one-stop shop’ but it is bringing together services that work closely together and have a similar look, feel and interaction.’
The services being brought into this Student Hub include Student Funding, the International Student Advisory Service (ISAS) and a main enquiry service. Additionally the redesigned block will also provide another 250-seat lecture theatre to bring students into the main building at the heart of campus.
Gisbert Kapp Car Park
A new multi storey car park behind Gisbert Kapp is planned to replace the South Car park near the Gun Barrels, the site on which the new Sports Centre will be built at a cost of £5.5m.
A new replacement running track will built where the Munrow centre currently stands.