THE transformation of one of Sheffield University’s key buildings is set to start in a £20 million bid to provide ‘world-class’ facilities.
A dramatic revamp of University House, which was one of the first glass curtain-walled constructions in the world, will see it integrated with the Students’ Union in a single complex.
Friday will mark the start of the project to upgrade the building for students, staff and the community.
Professor Keith Burnett, university vice-chancellor, and students’ union sabbatical officers will dig the first soil on site at the Western Bank campus in a groundbreaking ceremony.
Work is due to be complete by September 2013 – with the university saying disruption is to be minimised during the process.
Abdi-Aziz Suleiman, students’ union president, said: “The plans are impressive and will increase the amount of space for activities as well as community engagement.
“It will be very exciting to see the work start on Friday.
“This will be undoubtedly the best students’ union building in the country once it’s done.”
In 1963 University House’s pioneering design, which has a fresh and open approach plus top views of the city, broke new ground.
Once the revamp is finished, University House will include state-of-the-art facilities for student services and an amphitheatre-styled space for special events in the Octagon Plaza.
There will also be six new meeting rooms, improvements to the City View Cafe and the Fusion and Foundry venues.
More social and study spaces which are open for longer hours for students are also to be created.
Sheffield-based HLM architects has designed the makeover, which is to complement the £5 million revamp of the students’ union in 2010.
Landscaping includes improvements to pedestrian access and the planting of trees and shrubs as natural screens adjacent to Western Bank.
The work will bring the building up-to-date with modern efficiency standards, reducing annual energy consumption and also the building’s carbon footprint.
When finished the whole complex will be renamed as the Students’ Union Building.