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Morgan Sindall tops out University Campus Aylesbury Vale

Stood in a row onsite left to right are Michael Rand, Bob Ensch, Neil Blake, Ian Harper

Morgan Sindall and Aylesbury Vale District Council have celebrated a key milestone in the construction of a £16.5 million educational centre in Buckinghamshire, with a traditional topping out ceremony.

The last portion of the concrete frame which forms the super-structure of the new University Campus Aylesbury Vale (UCAV), was laid during a special celebratory ceremony to mark the completion of the main frame of the building on Thursday 22 January.

The building is funded by Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) as part of its ongoing investment in the town centre. Once complete, the building will be let to Buckinghamshire Education Skills and Training organisation (BEST), a partnership between Aylesbury College and Buckinghamshire New University. Representatives from the council, BEST, Bucks New University, and Aylesbury College joined Morgan Sindall to mark the key milestone.

At the ceremony, Morgan Sindall Area Director, Bob Ensch, was joined by Aylesbury Vale District Council Chairman, Michael Rand, Neil Blake, Leader of Aylesbury Vale District Council, Ian Harper, General Manager of BEST, Professor Ruth Farwell, Vice Chancellor of Bucks New University, and Aylesbury College Principal Karen Mitchell. Council Chairman, Michael Rand, laid the final portion of the concrete during the event to signify reaching the milestone.

Councillor Neil Blake, Leader of AVDC, said: “The topping out of this new building marks a major milestone in the redevelopment of the town centre. This is just the next step in fulfilling our vision of making Aylesbury a place of opportunity, enterprise and excellence, where individuals, communities and businesses flourish.

“The education centre will offer new opportunities for progression in learning and skills directly related to the requirements of the local economy. This is crucial both for the education and training needs of local people and for the success of local businesses and employers.”

The campus, which is due to open in autumn 2015, comprises a four-storey building, which will include educational facilities and public amenities including two restaurants, a cafe and a new public square.

The building’s upper three floors will be leased to BEST,. Through BEST, the University and College will provide degree level courses and professional development programmes for up to 2,000 students at University Campus Aylesbury Vale.

The new campus will expand the higher education offering for local residents, providing teaching space and break-out areas for students and staff. The centre aims to stimulate further economic growth in Aylesbury and across Buckinghamshire by offering a number of courses which are specifically designed to meet the local industry’s skills requirements.

General Manager of BEST, Ian Harper, said the campus will be a modern and exciting place to study:
“University Campus Aylesbury Vale is a spectacular addition to Aylesbury – both architecturally and educationally. Aylesbury College and Bucks New University created a vision and that vision is now becoming a reality which will help stimulate the local economy and support and develop the area’s residents and companies for decades to come.”

Bob Ensch, area director at Morgan Sindall, said: “Topping out ceremonies are traditionally held to mark the completion of work on the main frame of a building. The completion of the super-structure of any new building is an exciting and proud moment for the project team and it’s great to mark the occasion with this ceremony which has its roots in age-old customs.

“In the case of this important scheme, celebrations are definitely in order. This is a building which will have a great impact on the lives of people living locally. This is our third project for Aylesbury Vale District Council and we’re pleased to be providing a first-class facility and expanding and improving the educational and leisure offering available to people in Aylesbury and beyond. It’s great to be marking this key milestone alongside our project team and partners.”

The new building is being built on Walton Street at the head of the canal basin, next to the Waterside Theatre and will feature an attractive aluminium ‘wave form’ roof. The ground floor atrium of the building will house an open plan reception area, as well as space for two restaurants and a cafe which will open up the area to the wider community.