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Eco-friendly student centre with ground-source heat pumps, photovoltaics and green roof



HIGHLIGHTS

  • First new structure constructed by the University in 10 years
  • Working in a live university campus, including around key University dates
  • Work sequenced between quiet periods for examinations
  • Building footprint sited between the university library and sports hall
  • BREEAM Excellent rated, with ground-source heat pumps for underfloor heating

In 2012, Bournemouth University set a vision to create the most stimulating, challenging and rewarding University experience in a world-class learning community, the biggest development plan in over 30 years!

The Student Centre is the first step in Bournemouth’s strategic plan! Its completion this year has already enhanced the University’s standing and appeal to students.


Our team was approached in 2013 to build this six-storey facility that provides great new space to study, socialise and get involved with the Students’ Union.

Andy Jones from Willmott Dixon led the construction team:

“The university came to us with a need for a new student centre that had to be opened by Easter 2015. Using Scape was an ideal procurement process to ensure it would be delivered within that timelime.”

For our site team, working amid thousands of students on a tight site that previously housed half a dozen car parking spaces and some storage containers was one key challenge that was successfully managed.

Mr Jones explains:

“It was the first new building on the campus for 10 years so it was very important to us. We worked in the heart of the campus so logistics were tight, with eight metres between the edge of the site and the library and we also abutted the sports centre, which is where the students had exams. We worked well with the university team to successfully mitigate these issues and ensure campus life continued as normal.”

Now complete, the Student Centre allows students to work collaboratively and access a range of services including:

  • SUBU offices
  • a student advice centre
  • a cafe, radio and media studios
  • bookable meeting rooms
  • access points for student services.


The new Student Centre is an important milestone in BU’s ongoing investment in world class facilities, improving the student experience for thousands. Striking in appearance, the hexagonal-shaped structure features a steel staircase within an atrium and a mixture of curtain walling and zinc cladding externally.

See time lapse of the Student Centre being built

Steve Cox, Head of Estates Development, Bournemouth University:

“Thank you to Willmott Dixon for organising the exemplar building visits; these were very successful and provided a great opportunity to test the brief and consider lessons learnt from other projects.”

The building is BREEAM Excellent, with sustainability features including a ground-source heat pump, solar photovoltaic panels, and sedum green roof. The structure is reinforced concrete frame for better thermal mass.

The building footprint is situated between the university library and sports hall, so sequencing of work and connecting the new facility onto these two adjoining structures required careful planning and liaison with end users and other stakeholders.

Delivered on time, to budget and high quality, it is helping the University improve its standing in the higher education sector.