The University of Winchester celebrated a key milestone in the construction of its new learning and teaching building today (Tuesday 30 October), with a traditional 'topping out' ceremony.
The topping out marks leading construction company Osborne reaching the highest point in the landmark development at the West Downs Quarter.
University Vice-Chancellor Professor Joy Carter CBE, laid a final section of concrete on the top floor of the building, alongside Alan Titchmarsh MBE VMH DL, Chancellor of the University and John Craig, Osborne's managing director of construction. John Craig presented Professor Carter and Alan Titchmarsh with an engraved trowel to commemorate the event.
The ceremony ended with the cutting of a celebration cake in the shape of the new building, generously provided by Osborne.
Professor Carter said: "Just over nine months ago, we marked the official start of construction work with a groundbreaking ceremony. It is incredibly exciting to be here today to celebrate the extraordinary progress of the building and the achievement of Osborne's fantastic construction team.
"When completed, the development provide an outstanding learning environment for our students and be a landmark in the city. The state-of-the-art facilities, including specialist labs for our digital and computer-related degree courses, will inspire future generations of digital pioneers who will study here and help to shape our future."
Andy Steele, CEO at Osborne, said: "Osborne has a track record and ethos of working closely with universities to deliver high-quality facilities that are carefully-designed, well-constructed and focused on enhancing the student experience. We are delighted to be an integral part of this important landmark for the University of Winchester."
Construction started in January 2018, with the building set to open for the academic year 2019-2010. Designed by award-winning Winchester-based architects Design Engine, the building features an art gallery; a 250-seat auditorium; a café and food hall; a contemplation space; courtyard garden, teaching rooms and library.
On completion, it is set to be one of the 'Greenest' buildings in Winchester, featuring rainwater recycling, solar photo voltaic panels, a combined heat and power system, smart building management and ecological features. It is set to achieve the 'Excellent' rating of the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM). BREEAM is the benchmark standard for the construction of environmentally sustainable buildings in the UK.
Winchester is the first UK university to secure Green finance for campus development, with a £30m loan from Triodos Bank, Europe's leading sustainable bank.
Richard Jobson of Design Engine Architects, said: "Even though we have lived with the concept design of this new building for many years, it is always a delight and sometimes a little nerve wracking to see it finally rising from the ground.
"In this case it is especially heart stopping as its impact on our home city is particularly acute but one we feel increasingly excited about, particularly the positive impact to Romsey Road and the huge public contribution it will make to the city of Winchester - and the views from the top floor are truly jaw-dropping!"
To find out more about the development at West Downs, visit: www.winchester.ac.uk/WestDownsdevelopment
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