West Downs Development
The University is building a new learning and teaching building at our West Downs Quarter on Romsey Road, which will be home to our Digital Futures computer and digital-related degree programmes and business and management programmes.
We celebrated a key construction milestone at the end of October 2018 with a traditional 'topping out' ceremony to mark reaching the highest point in the landmark development.
The contemporary design by award-winning Winchester-based architects Design Engine includes a 250-seat auditorium, art gallery, café, food hall, library, social learning areas and teaching spaces.
The development will provide state-of-the-art facilities to improve the quality of teaching space and meet the changing demands of higher education.
With the University's ambition to become the most sustainable higher education institution in the UK, the new building at West Downs is on target to achieve a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) 'Excellent' rating. Sustainable features of the new building include a combined heat and power plant, heat recovery systems, rainwater harvesting, a green roof and solar photovoltaic panels.
The building represents an important investment in the University's future. As a successful values-driven higher education institution, we aim to maintain our strong position in the higher education sector in the years ahead, improving our estate, facilities and learning resources to support excellence and ensure Winchester is an automatic first choice for undergraduates.
The project also provides a new gateway into the city, linking the University and the city and creating an impressive addition to Winchester’s civic buildings on the main route into the city centre from the south-west, where it will be visible from the Romsey Road.
Construction began in January 2018 and will take approximately two years to complete.
We publish regular newsletters about the progress of the new building. Download the latest newsletter at this link: West_Downs_newsletter_issue_3_November_2018
A timelapse camera overlooking the construction site is recording construction work as it takes place. Images are updated every 15 minutes from 7am until 6pm Monday to Friday. The latest still image can be seen below:
Thanks to Lithend Estates for hosting the timelapse camera on one of their properties.
Visit our YouTube channel to watch timelapse films of construction progress, interviews and other films about the development.
The proposed timeline for the new building:
- Spring 2017 Planning decision by Winchester City Council
- January 2018 Construction work began
- Autumn 2019 Building opens for the 2019-2020 academic year
The University is committed to engaging with and supporting the local community in a variety of ways and, in line with this, the proposed new teaching and learning building at the West Downs Campus will have a number of benefits for the local community.
- A new signalled pedestrian crossing will improve pedestrian safety across Romsey Road, making access to the West Downs Campus and the bus stop easier
- The vehicular entrance to the site is being relocated, further improving pedestrian safety
- The public footpath which runs along the eastern side of the site between West Downs and Hillier Garden Centre will be widened and the landscaping improved. It will also be overlooked by part of the new building, improving public security.
Some areas of the new building will be open to members of the local community to use:
- Art gallery
- Auditorium hosting public lectures and performances (when not used for teaching)
- Improved and relocated convenience shop
- Paved public piazza with benches and planting
- Courtyard garden
- Contemplation space
- The building design will incorporate numerous enhancements to improve accessibility including disabled toilets at each level and four carefully positioned lifts
- A Changing Places personal care room for people with special care needs and their carers will be located on the ground floor of the new building near the café, providing accessible toilet and shower facilities. It will be one of only three personal care rooms in Winchester, the other two being in the Discovery Centre and the University’s Martial Rose Library on the King Alfred Campus on Sparkford Road
- Accessibility for less able visitors to the West Downs Centre and Student Village beyond will be improved. Users will be able to choose from an improved sweeping pedestrian ramp or use of lifts within the new building.
We are procuring the main contractor using the Southern Construction Framework which is managed by Hampshire County Council. The framework process means the contractor is involved in the project earlier, leading to various benefits including for the local economy and community.
- The Considerate Constructors Scheme Code of Considerate Practice will apply to the development and is scored on external appearance, respect for the local community, environment, safety and workforce. We aim to score 40 out of 50 for the project – the industry average is about 35.
- Employment and skills outcomes. A total of 23 apprentice/trainee outcomes are anticipated.
- The contractor will engage with local suppliers, including SMEs, for materials and services for the build
- The SMEs target is 70% of project spend
- The localism target is 65% of project spend
Frequently Asked Questions: West Downs Development
Why is the University of Winchester building a new development on its West Downs campus?
The University of Winchester is a successful values-driven higher education institution. Our ambitious Strategic Plan considers long-term trends within the higher education sector and how to maintain its strong position in the future.
Our Strategic Plan prioritises student experience through the continuous improvement of the University’s estate, facilities and learning resources to enable excellence and ensure that the University is an automatic first choice for undergraduates.
The West Downs development provides state-of-the-art facilities to improve the quality of teaching space and meet the changing demands of higher education.
Why does the University need to have a flagship civic building on a main route into the city?
The University is a major employer and a key part of the city – yet it has very little civic presence. This project presents an exciting opportunity to create an impressive addition to Winchester’s civic buildings at the main gateway into the city centre from the south-west where it will be visible from the Romsey Road.
Where is the site and how big is it?
The West Down’s site is situated on the B3040 Romsey Road south-west of the city centre.The new 7500m2 building will be constructed on existing green space within the site, next to the Grade II-listed business school.
When will the building be completed?
Work began on the new building in January 2018 with a groundbreaking ceremony. Construction will take approximately two years, with completion for the academic year 2019/2020.
Will the building be environmentally friendly?
With the University's ambition to become the most sustainable higher education institution in the UK, the new building at West Downs aims to be highly environmentally friendly and is on target to achieve a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) 'Excellent' rating.
BREEAM assesses, rates and certifies the sustainability of new buildings around the world. Metrics cover a range of environmental issues, such as energy and water use, materials, waste, ecology, pollution and transport.
Sustainable features of the new building include a combined heat and power plant, heat recovery systems, rainwater harvesting, a green roof and solar photovoltaic panels.
How much will the new building cost?
The University has budgeted £50m to build and equip the new teaching and learning building. We are the first University in the UK to secure green finance for campus development, with a £30m loan from Triodos Bank for our landmark new building.
What benefits will the building bring to the University?
The development will provide state-of-the-art facilities to improve the quality of teaching space and help meet the changing demands of higher education.
The University’s Estates Master Plan aims to improve or replace old and inefficient buildings, situated mainly on the main King Alfred Campus.
Will the development benefit the local community? In what ways?
The development of the proposed new teaching and learning building at the West Downs Campus will have a number of benefits for local people, in line with our role and responsibilities as an integral part of the local community.
Benefits include: improved pedestrian safety across Romsey Road and into West Downs; improved access and security for pedestrians using the public footpath between West Downs and Hillier Garden centre; public access to parts of the new building including the café, auditorium, courtyard garden and public piazza, and an art gallery. There will also be a Changing Places personal care room for people with disabilities.