Posted Monday 11 July 2016
Kingston University Vice-Chancellor Professor Julius Weinberg swapped his suit and tie for a high-vis jacket and hard hat during a recent visit to the University's Penrhyn Road campus.
Professor Weinberg was surveying the site where the University's old Town House building is currently being removed to make way for a new landmark building due to be completed in 2019. As he looked around the works, accompanied by building manager Paul Brewer from construction company Willmott Dixon, Professor Weinberg took the opportunity to get a better view from the vantage point of one of the company's large diggers.
Professor Weinberg said he'd been keen to take a final look at the building before it came down completely. "The Town House was a pre-fabricated structure installed in 1984," he explained. "Seeing the old sign being hoisted away has reminded me that, as well as housing our Students' Union offices in more recent times, it's been the venue for a great many teaching and research activities during the past 32 years."
The University's Deputy Director of Estates, Connor Wilson, said much of the material from the former building would be recycled. "Since the structural frame and roof are entirely made of steel and the window frames aluminium, all of it can be easily recycled," he said. "Some of the furnishings, such as chairs, desks and carpet tiles, along with heating and lighting materials, still have a lot of life left in them too so we'll also be making good use of those across the University."
Kingston University had a very good record for sustainable building projects, Mr Wilson added. "We're aiming to achieve an ‘excellent' BREEAM rating for this work – BREEAM being the globally recognised sustainability assessment method for building development," he said.
The building is scheduled to be completely removed by the middle of August and construction of the new Town House will commence in 2017. Although the existing building had carried out a sterling job for more than three decades, the new Town House would mark the start of the next exciting chapter in Kingston University's development, Professor Weinberg said. "Students, staff and local residents alike have told us they've been inspired by how it will benefit both the University and the borough," he added.
Local residents will have access to a number of facilities in the new Town House including two cafés, a learning resources centre, a 300-seat covered courtyard and attractive new landscaped spaces. "The building will have something for everyone and will revolutionise students' education by offering the kind of facilities needed to provide an exceptional 21st Century learning environment," Professor Weiberg said.