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Construction began in September 2013 and aimed to be completed by December 2014. The decision to invest in the new facility came from the significant growth in the department’s numbers and reputation. It was supported by the Head of the Department, Professor Malcolm Joyce who explained that the new development will raise the profile of Lancaster as a key provider of engineering education. He described the engineering industry as “highly buoyant” with Lancaster students always having “the pick of the jobs” as “90% of our engineering students are in a professional managerial jobs six months after graduating”.
The new building was designed to achieve the new BREEAM ‘outstanding’ rating to reflect current regulations and industry benchmarks. The project is a £12 million investment and has been in the pipeline for three years. Professor Joyce was very enthusiastic about the department’s relocation and the new facilities saying its “fantastic”. He also stated he was pleased to see the students making the most of the new building and that most had been working there all day and seemed to be appreciating the new atmosphere.
The building itself is of an open plan design and consists of several laboratories with top-of-the-range equipment as well as classrooms, computer labs and offices. The open plan design means that students can be seen working in the laboratories by passers-by on the spine, a design which the students are positive about despite it being different from what they are accustomed to.
SCAN spoke to several Master’s students on their first day working in the new building who commented that they were very impressed with the new building. One student said “we had half expected a building site, but instead were able to start work immediately in a nice working environment.” They said that there had been very little disruption throughout the move and the two week delay, whilst mildly getting in the way of their lab work, was a small scale delay on a three year project. SCAN also spoke to a first year student just before the opening of the building who commented that “the building itself looks really nice and I’m incredibly excited to use it”.