New university centrepiece taking shape

ONE of the key pieces in the University Campus Suffolk (UCS) jigsaw is rapidly springing from the ground.The ultra-modern, glass-covered landmark building, which forms the central hub of the UCS vision, is soon to become the newest addition to the Ipswich Waterfront skyline.

ONE of the key pieces in the University Campus Suffolk (UCS) jigsaw is rapidly springing from the ground.

The ultra-modern, glass-covered landmark building, which forms the central hub of the UCS vision, is soon to become the newest addition to the Ipswich Waterfront skyline.

The building, which project bosses promise is being constructed to schedule, will be the centrepiece of a major campus which will take shape over the next five to ten years.

The innovative design provides space for students and the public, including lecture halls, exhibition space, a student centre, offices and cafes.

Costing an estimated £20million, the lower storeys of the curved structure are already taking shape.

While UCS welcomed its first students earlier this month, the building is due for completion in July 2008, in time for the university's second cohort.

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The speed of the development - around a year from the drawing board to builders starting on site - has been driven by the planned speedy expansion of the university.

Architects RMJM, who were tasked with designing the seven-storey structure, were given a brief containing just a few words: landmark, integrated, sustainable, deliverable, student-facing, innovative and flexible.

Residents of the neighbouring ten-storey Neptune Quay have raised concerns about the scale of the project, but officials say around 95 per cent of the community have backed the development.

It is hoped it will act as a catalyst for further investment in the town's education quarter, which will include the soon-to-be-built Suffolk New College buildings.

Neil Jackson, UCS facilities and estates manager, spoke of the importance of the structure.

“It's critical to have a building like this,” he said.

“UCS is taking off and now it's being driven by the fact the building is happening - it's starting to make the university a reality.”

Do you back UCS? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Did you know?

The universities of East Anglia and Essex are the founding higher education institutions

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