University of South Wales: enhancing the ‘student experience’

 University of Glamorgan- University of Wales, The University of South Wales

Formed by a merger of the University of Glamorgan and the University of Wales earlier this year, The University of South Wales is now one of the largest in the UK.

Combining five campuses and more than 33,000 students, the new university will operate across Cardiff, Pontypridd and Newport – as well as maintaining a strong presence in the Heads of the Valleys.

As part of a wider investment in the university campuses, since early 2012 work has been underway on a £5.25m development of B Block in Treforest. The development will see the creation of a new, modern and highly visible frontage for the university’s main campus.

The B Block project will see the re-designation of the university’s physical presence on Llantwit Road from a tired 1980s-esque polytechnic into a modern, distinctive higher education institution.

The project includes the demolition of parts of the building to make way for enhanced student facilities, including a brand-new 304-seat, state-of-the-art lecture theatre.

Front and side aspects of the building, overlooking Ty Crawshay and Llantwit Road, will be transformed into an airy and spacious glass-fronted lobby area, visible to the public and providing an impressive aspect for students and visitors to the University.

The remainder of the building, B2 and B3, will be refurbished to create a series of new and modern multipurpose teaching facilities to enhance provision on our main campus. Flexible, open plan office space will also be created for some support departments.

Construction and refurbishment of B Block will be completed in time for the start of the new academic year in 2013.

Speaking about the development, Project Manager, Mark Pamplin said: “The B Block refurbishment and new build will bring state of the art facilities to students and staff at the University of South Wales.”

University of Glamorgan- University of Wales, The University of South Wales

The new block is a steel framed building with cladding panels and the front elevation is fully glazed, the B2 and B3 refurbishment is very modern and to a high standard.

When asked about the difficulties of carrying out such extensive construction work during term time, Mark said:

“It is difficult carrying out any construction works in a university environment as there are always issues with noise, dust and the conflict with exam times.  We have however been trying to ensure everything is running with as little disruption as possible, we try to deal with problems as and when they arise.

“We have for example been making temporary access arrangements to keep the flow of the university going.”

When asked what these works will mean to the university when complete, Mark added:

“All major projects are great for the university; it’s all about the student experience. We give every project a lot of thought to ensure the facilities are right for students and staff.”

The Lawray Partnership are the architects on the multimillion pound project and John Weaver Contractors are the main contractors.

This development form part of the university’s ongoing £130m investment in its campuses to create modern facilities for students and staff. Speaking about the investment, Vice-Chancellor, Julie Lydon said:

“The University of South Wales is committed to the delivery of a first class learning environment incorporating the use of cutting edge learning facilities; a learning environment in which students flourish and grow, academically and socially.”

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