The University of Sheffield’s recently unveiled Student’s Union has received great feedback from students and staff following a £23 million redevelopment.
The new Student’s Union was launched at a lavish opening ceremony in September having taken 18 months to complete.
The project comprised the refurbishment and renovation of the existing Student’s Union building and the attached property called University House. Both these venues have since been joined together to form one impressive five floor venue; boasting dining, conference, retail and nightlife facilities.
Pat McGrath, Director of Accommodation and Commercial Services at the University of Sheffield, spoke to Premier Construction about the vast project. She said the aim of the redevelopment was to offer a facility that served all the markets; it needed to be diverse as the student population comprises of individuals from 130 countries.
“A lot of the work on site that we needed to carry out was mechanical and electrical as the buildings had not been refurbished for a long time. We needed to buy and install up to date equipment, including fitting windows that reduce our energy costs. We had to do a lot of back of house work to get the building up to the correct standards.”
The Students Union spans five storeys and offers a vast array of different facilities for students, staff and visitors. The main entrance of the union leads visitors onto the third floor where a retail shop and fish and grill takeaway outlet are located.
The fourth floor, called Uni Central, boasts an impressive range of outlets. The floor is awash with different types of fast food venues that offer numerous different cuisine choices; these include Pan Asian street foods and Mexican dishes. The whole floor is a seated concept; and also contains Deli View. Here visitors can purchase lights snacks and drinks such as Panini’s and made to order sandwiches.
The fifth floor is home to Inox Dine; the university’s top of the range, seated dining and conference facility. The restaurant opened in mid-September and serves up British dishes with international influences; the venue is lead by Head Chef Jo Berry. The second floor houses all of the venues nightlife facilities including nightclubs and bars.
During construction students and staff were unable to access numerous facilities for an entire school year and so regular communication with all those on site was very important. At times areas of the campus had to be closed off and access was limited; signage was therefore constantly put up and removed throughout the development to ensure everyone knew what stage the project was at.
So far Pat said there has been great feedback about the development. She added:
“The project was all about offering a variety to the diverse student and staff population. We wanted to be able to entertain everyone in this new environment as we have not been able to before. The venue also acts as a great showcase for Sheffield to encourage people to get involved in the university experience.”