Contractor BAM and local stakeholders were joined by staff and students from Birmingham City University at the institution’s new Health Sciences and Education building to mark the traditional ‘topping out’ ceremony and celebrate a key milestone in the delivery of the facility.
The 10,500m² extension on Westbourne Road in Edgbaston forms part of the University’s City South Campus.
The new development, set to open in 2018, will also enable the relocation of the University’s School of Education, consolidating the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences on to one site.
Designed by architects Sheppard Robson, the building will help reinforce Birmingham City University's status as the region’s largest provider of qualified health and social care professionals to the NHS and producer of more teachers than any other institution in the West Midlands.
The space will offer teacher training and specialist facilities for health sciences including provision for research, a new lecture theatre, a multi-purpose hall, speech therapy, physiotherapy and ultrasound suites, art and technology classrooms and IT hubs.
Speaking at the topping out ceremony on Thursday 4 May, Professor Graham Upton, Vice-Chancellor of Birmingham City University, said: “Today marks an exciting new chapter in the University’s long and proud history. Not only will this new building allow us to strengthen our existing education teaching and research programmes, we will also be offering a wide range of new health, nutrition and biomedical science courses.“The new building also strengthens our student experience and University community by allowing us to house our health and education offerings on one site for the first time. In doing so, we are creating a significant hub for our public service contracts and professional development provision in Edgbaston, offering more consistent support services and facilities for both students and staff.”
The building forms part of the University’s £260 million investment into new state-of-the-art facilities which will be strengthened with the opening of the new £57 million Birmingham Conservatoire later this year.
As part of the City South Campus extension, students from the University’s Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment have been working alongside BAM to gain real-life experience of working in the construction industry, by putting the theory learned in the classroom into practice.
Colin Harper, BAM Project Manager, said: "This could be Birmingham's most advanced construction scheme. Our sector is undergoing a quiet technical revolution. Digital techniques are helping us and our supply chain deliver both the speed and quality we need for complex modern buildings, like this one for Birmingham City University.
“It is especially pleasing this is happening on a higher education project, thus demonstrating the future to our next generation of construction professionals. Even more impressive is the depth of understanding we have formed with our client. Whatever the technology, strong partnerships are always the secret behind successful construction.”
BAM currently employs 160 people at the Edgbaston site, with 80 per cent coming from the West Midlands.