Published: 22 June 2023 at 09:00
Turf cutting ceremony marks major milestone at ARU Peterborough
A ceremonial spade was dug into the ground to mark the start of works to build a second teaching building incorporating a ‘Living Lab’ science facility at ARU Peterborough, the city’s new university.
On Wednesday (June 21) representatives from the partners developing the university, the Combined Authority, Peterborough City Council and Anglia Ruskin University, were on site to celebrate the milestone.
This third phase of the ARU Peterborough campus is on the site of the former Regional Pool car park, next to first teaching building, University House, which opened to students in September. It is planned to open to in autumn 2024.
Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Dr Nik Johnson, Leader of Peterborough City Council, Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald, ARU Peterborough Principal Prof Ross Renton, ARU Vice Chancellor Prof Roderick Watkins and Combined Authority Business Board member Rebecca Stephens, were among those marking the start of works alongside contractor Morgan Sindall Construction.
The Living Lab, part of the second teaching building, will be a publicly accessible, interactive science facility and education space. It aims to engage and inspire residents and visitors in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) topics. It will form part of a pedestrian-friendly campus and will have the flexibility to host a variety of events, exhibitions, education opportunities with local schools, immersive displays, talks, forums and potentially evening classes. Students will also be able to engage the community in their research, embedding work at the university even further in the community.
The second teaching building will help realise the ambition of the campus as a new attraction for Peterborough, and a centrepiece within a new University Quarter which is publicly accessible and attractively designed.
The new building will support mainly STEM fields and expand the number of places for students. There will be specialist teaching labs, including in microbiology and engineering, flexible teaching spaces, and a social learning space.
ARU Peterborough is an employment-focused university, with a curriculum developed in collaboration with local employers, giving students the skills demanded in the local economy, helping them into good careers and helping businesses to grow.
The new building will be lower in height and smaller in size than the main University House. It is planned to meet the requirements of an ‘excellent’ BREEAM rating, which is an industry-standard benchmark of a building’s sustainability, including aspects like energy efficiency. Walking and cycling will be encouraged, with cycle parking provided. Landscaping will provide peaceful, attractive areas to socialise or take a break.
The planning application included an assessment of the many heritage assets in the area, including the Grade I Listed Peterborough Cathedral, and established that the proposals would not result in any harm to the heritage interests of the area.
The Living Lab and second teaching building sees another £30 million of investment into Peterborough. This includes £20 million from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund, £4 million from Anglia Ruskin University, and £2 million from the Combined Authority’s Business Board. Peterborough City Council has contributed land for the project to an investment value of £2 million.
In addition, in a joint commitment, the Combined Authority, Peterborough City Council and Anglia Ruskin University have each recently approved additional funds to meet further construction and materials costs resulting from inflationary pressures in the economy.
ARU Peterborough is a partnership between the Combined Authority, Peterborough City Council and Anglia Ruskin University.
Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Dr Nik Johnson, said:
“As a regional business, it is great to be celebrating work commencing at the university as we are excited to be working alongside Peterborough City Council, the Combined Authority and of course, the Anglia Ruskin University.
“The development will have a hugely positive impact on the wider community in Peterborough, delivering real social value through the creation of high-quality jobs within our local supply chains, and opening up opportunities for training and development for the next generation of construction professionals in the region.”