Celebrations ‘raise the roof’ at ARU Peterborough

Published: 18 January 2024 at 09:30

ARU Peterborough phase 3 topping out ceremony

Topping out ceremony marks completion of roof structure of second teaching building

Another high point in the rapid development of the ARU Peterborough university campus was marked with a ‘topping out’ ceremony of the second teaching building incorporating the ‘Living Lab’ public science and technology space.

On Tuesday (January 16) representatives of the three project partners, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, Peterborough City Council and Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), gathered at the building site to mark the completion of the roof structure of the strikingly-designed and sustainable building.

This third phase of ARU Peterborough is on the site of the former Regional Pool car park, next to first teaching building, University House. It is planned to open ready for the new academic year in September 2024.

Three people looking out of the window in ARU Peterborough's second teaching building, while it is under construction

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Dr Nik Johnson, Leader of Peterborough City Council, Cllr Mohammed Farooq, ARU Peterborough Principal Professor Ross Renton, ARU Vice Chancellor Professor Roderick Watkins, Peterborough MP Paul Bristow, and Combined Authority Business Board Chair Al Kingsley, alongside contractor Morgan Sindall, were among those marking the milestone.

The Living Lab will offer students, the local community and visitors an interactive, flexible space for events, exhibits, talks, forums, education opportunities and school visits. It aims to engage and inspire residents and visitors in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) topics.

The Living Lab will also help visitors engage in the research work of the students, further embedding what goes on at ARU Peterborough in the community.

Once completed, the building will support the ambition of a University Quarter which is publicly accessible and attractively designed, making it an important part of regeneration in Peterborough.

External view of ARU Peterborough's second teaching building, with parkland and Peterborough Cathedral seen in the background

The new teaching 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.

With the campus already selected on shortlists for awards related to its design, this new building aims to further enhance the campus as an architectural asset for Peterborough. It will 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.

The new building puts £32 million of investment into Peterborough. It has been funded with £20 million from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund, and the rest from contributions from the Combined Authority, the Business Board’s Local Growth Fund, Anglia Ruskin University and Peterborough City Council. The City Council has also contributed land for the project to an investment value of £1.9 million.

ARU Peterborough is a partnership between the Combined Authority, Peterborough City Council and Anglia Ruskin University (ARU).

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Dr Nik Johnson, said:

“What was just an aspiration before the formation of the Combined Authority is now an award-winning and growing university that the city and region can be proud of.

“The pace of development so far is a result of the strong partnership we have with the City Council and Anglia Ruskin University, and this construction milestone of another exciting campus building is more evidence of the ability of this partnership to deliver for the city and its people.”

Councillor Peter Hiller, Cabinet Member for Housing, Growth and Regeneration at Peterborough City Council, said:

“The Living Lab building is another significant milestone for education and skills in Peterborough and will be a unique facility for the community to use and enjoy. It will also provide opportunities for students to gain qualifications in emerging new science technologies and sectors that cutting edge companies are looking to grow. This in turn promotes growth in the economy and creates more high paying jobs, making our city a more attractive place to live and work in.”

Professor Roderick Watkins, Vice Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), said:

“ARU is committed to providing excellent education and life-changing opportunities for the communities we serve, and ARU Peterborough is certainly delivering in this regard.

“In the short time since opening, ARU Peterborough has attracted national attention and has been instrumental in helping ARU win both the Times Higher Education University of the Year 2023 award, and the University of the Year prize at the UK Social Mobility Awards. This wonderful new building will provide additional teaching capacity during the next academic year, allowing ARU Peterborough to go from strength to strength in 2024.”

Professor Ross Renton, Principal of ARU Peterborough, said:

“The role of ARU Peterborough is to inspire future generations to meet the challenges of a changing world and equip them with the tools to thrive. This third building at ARU Peterborough will support the expansion of science, technology and engineering subjects, providing exciting new opportunities for people from across the region.

“These fantastic facilities will also deliver additional opportunities to work with employers and attract inward investment. This new building marks the next stage in the exciting development of Peterborough’s University Quarter, and we will continue to look for opportunities to further develop ARU Peterborough to meet the ambitions of the city and the wider region.”

Al Kingsley, Chair of the Business Board, said:

“ARU Peterborough is a long term investment in the future of the city, where benefits will be felt over decades, but the progress in a short space of time already represents a significant achievement. This new building remains on course for delivery as planned, growing further the university’s ability to provide people with the skills needed by local employers, fostering fantastic careers, driving business growth and supporting Peterborough’s regeneration. The Business Board is a significant investor in ARU Peterborough because its goals align so clearly with our own Economic Growth Strategy to drive skills, innovation and enterprise across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Jamie Shearman, area director for Morgan Sindall Construction in Cambridgeshire, said:

“It was great to welcome key partners down to site to mark this key milestone at ARU Peterborough. Being a business embedded within the region, we understand first-hand the positive impact the growth of ARU Peterborough will have for the city and whole community, as Peterborough reinforces its ambition of growth and investment in skills locally, for long-term economic prosperity.

“As the build continues, we are continuing our work to deliver real social value through local supply chains and high-quality jobs on site, ensuring the wider community benefits from this scheme.”