Sheffield University’s students’ union is back open for business - following a £20 million revamp in time for the building’s 50th anniversary.
Managers believe new state-of-the-art facilities are a key factor in attracting some of the country’s brightest young talents, with 25,000 students currently choosing the institution.
The refurb, completed over the summer, builds on a £5 million improvement package which was completed in 2010.
New features include better equipped areas for student services, an amphitheatre-style space for special events within a new ‘Octagon Piazza’, as well as more social and study spaces open for longer hours.
It also has a new restaurant, named Inox Dine, which will be open all day to the public with views across the city, and six event spaces capable of catering for 250 delegates.
The word inox is a synonym for stainless steel.
University House, which was one of the first glass curtain walled buildings in the world when it was completed in 1963, has now been integrated with the union block next door into a single building.
There are also exhibition and business spaces as well as improvements to the music and arts venues Foundry, Studio and Fusion, and to the City View Cafe.
The new building also features a bridge joining the Octagon building to the union, bringing all its facilities together under one roof at the heart of the campus.
The union, which employs more than 900 people and is home to nearly 50 sports clubs and more than 350 societies, was last month ranked the best in the UK in the National Students’ Survey.
Union president Ally Buckle said: “The union is already regarded by students as the best in the country so it’s fantastic to have worked in partnership with the university to ensure the student experience at Sheffield is second to none.
“It’s great that new students can start the term being able to enjoy an even bigger and better students’ union with top class facilities to suit our diverse student body.”
The building will be officially opened at an event on October 24, which will be hosted by former union manager Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield.