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University of Kent – Kent Union Building

Kent Union
Written by Roma Publications

University of Kent – Kent Union Building

The University of Kent and Kent Union have been working in partnership over the last five years, to secure a new Park Wood hub. The development comes off of the back of the new Oaks Nursery Development, Student Media Centre and Student Hub/Deep End bar in Medway.

Now underway, the initial brief for the project was to create a modern, contemporary building with photovoltaic solar panels, sustainable construction materials and a ‘living’ green wall.

Speaking to Premier Construction magazine about the project, Neil Hornsey, Senior Building Surveyor for the Estates Department at the University of Kent said: “The new building will replace the old Kent Union Bar known as Woody’s with a new kitchen facility. It will also incorporate a new convenience store with an inner street space connecting the two facilities.

“On the first floor a second bar/break out space is being created which will link into the larger bar on the ground floor but will also have the ability to run separate events. This area can also open up to a large balcony. Two new dance studios are also being created which can be opened up to be one large dance studio. There is also a quite area for students to study.

“The external layout of the building will create a new pedestrianised student street and this will allow the new building to open up with external spaces for larger events and activities. The street will also allow extra student facing services to be created and eventually create a central village square environment.

“The building will be achieving a BREEAM rating of Very Good.”
Work on the development, which is located on the Canterbury Campus, is being undertaken by main contractors Jenner Contractors Ltd alongside Lee Evans Architects, who are following a design created by the Estates Department at the University of Kent.
When completed the building will provide:

  • A new convenience shop to replace Parkwood Essentials boasting a broader range of fresh food, hot grab and go food and beverages.
  • A new bar/café to replace Woody’s boasting a great coffee and beverage offer and great value, fresh and flavoursome food; as well as some Woody’s classics likes the ‘Stack.’
  • A social/study space to relax, meet and make friends.
  • Study hub so students can stay on top of their studies or cram for exams.
  • Two dance studios/student activity spaces to support the 250 sports clubs and societies engaged with their members.
  • New Student Lettings Agency.
  • A mini high street for student services and an opportunity to create a community centre for Park Wood students and the wider student community.

Neil added: “I personally have worked very closely with Kent Union on the early stages of design development to deliver the new facility. I am very pleased that the project is proceeding with the same principles as originally thought and key factors of the brief have been achieved.”
Kent Union was established in September 1975 and is the student representative body for students at Kent University. It is led by five elected full-time officers, a Board of Trustees, part-time student officers and ‘lay’ members of the local community and businesses selected for their specialist expertise.
The project is on schedule with an expected open date of autumn 2018.



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