The West Park Teaching Hub is located in the former Ford College building, where work to convert the existing building began in July 2015. The project, which took just six months to complete involved an extensive adaptation, reconfiguration and refurbishment of the internal layout as well as an external refresh.
Loughborough University appointed Woodhead as main contractor for the project following a competitive tender process. Following which a pre-contract value engineering exercise was undertaken in order to identify savings and efficiencies to bring the project within the client’s budget.
Core Architects was appointed by Woodhead to carry out the architectural design element and MIES Building Services was appointed as the mechanical and electrical design and build contractor.
Working alongside Core Architects, an innovative design was developed to deliver a creative yet flexible teaching and learning space for the university.
Project Quantity Surveyor for Woodhead, Matt Stone, said: “We were given an initial design brief from the team at Loughborough University. It was a really open concept and invited us to be as creative as possible. This presented us with a unique and exciting opportunity to really push the boundaries and come up with an innovative plan to use the space. In partnership with Core Architects we worked hard to deliver an inspiring and flexible workspace which meets the needs of the university and its students.”
The project involved the refurbishment of an existing building which required the facility to be converted into eight teaching spaces, a math learning support centre for students and staff and a flexible open learning and exhibition area.
Client communication was a key priority at every stage of the process and regular design team meetings were held prior to starting on site in order to refine the design and ensure the client’s needs and expectations were met.
Once the design had been agreed, a number of collaborative planning sessions were held involving Woodhead and all sub-contractors.
Matt Stone explains why this collaborative approach was so important: “We always work hard to engage with our supply chain partners in order to deliver the best partnership working for our clients. From the outset on this project we wanted to establish processes that ensured the works were well coordinated and delivered smoothly.
“This approach also meant that our sub-contractors bought into our promise to deliver the building to the client in time for their planned February opening. The building was completed and handed to the client at the end of January.
“It’s always great to see the completed projects we deliver for our clients but this one in particular is a great space to spend time in. The communal areas are fresh, light and modern and to see them working in practice for the staff and students is really rewarding.”
The facility has been converted to provide a series of high quality tiered lecture theatres, the largest of which accommodates an audience of 258. A comprehensive range of audio visual equipment has been installed in each of the lecture spaces. The facility also includes two seminar rooms and a central learning and exhibition zone which can be used as two small areas or one large one. Externally the building has been repainted and the wall panels re-sealed.
An efficient lighting scheme with intelligent controls incorporated into the new audio visual lectern systems was installed by MIES Building Services. New fire alarm, security system, small power and data installations completed the electrical upgrade. The mechanical systems within the building were transformed to provide an energy efficient system to facilitate the increased occupancy levels.
The 23 week refurbishment and renovation project is now complete and has seen the interior of the building change dramatically. Alongside the formal teaching space will be an informal learning area with comfortable seating as well as open plan waiting areas with seating and a cafe. The facility, which opened in February, now accommodates around 1000 students every day.
Peter Goldsworthy, Project Manager for Loughborough University, said: “The West Park Teaching Hub is very recognisable externally and we were keen for the interior to be just as memorable, so it’s been great to see the transformation over the last few months. The development of the building forms part of the university’s wider development programme which is being delivered in order to expand Loughborough’s existing academic provision.”
This is the second project Woodhead has delivered for Loughborough University, having previously undertaken the conversion of a kitchen and dining facility into a multi faith centre for the University. The Centre for Faith and Spirituality in the Edward Herbert Building on campus, provides a Chapel, a Muslim prayer room, multi-faith rooms, a quiet room, and a library.