Topping out ceremony marks progress of ‘university campus’

A topping out ceremony at the University Campus Aylesbury Vale - pictured from left are Michael Rand, Bob Ensch, Neil Blake and Ian Harper

A topping out ceremony at the University Campus Aylesbury Vale - pictured from left are Michael Rand, Bob Ensch, Neil Blake and Ian Harper

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The completion of the main frame of the new University Campus Aylesbury Vale has been marked by a topping out ceremony.

The last portion of the concrete frame which forms the structure of the new £16.5 million university campus was laid during the celebratory ceremony last month.

The building which is being funded by Aylesbury Vale District Council will be let to Buckinghamshire Education Skills and Training (BEST) organisation, a partnership between Aylesbury College and Bucks New University.

District council chairman Michael Rand had the honour of laying the final portion of the concrete during the event.

He was joined by Bob Ensch, the area director of construction company Morgan Sindall, Neil Blake, the leader of the district council, Ian Harper, the general manager of BEST, Professor Ruth Farwell, vice-chancellor of Bucks New University, and Aylesbury College principal Karen Mitchell.

Councillor Blake said: “The topping out of this new building marks a major milestone in the redevelopment of the town centre.

“This is just the next step in fulfilling our vision of making Aylesbury a place of opportunity, enterprise and excellence, where individuals, communities and businesses flourish.

“The education centre will offer new opportunities for progression in learning and skills directly related to the requirements of the local economy.

“This is crucial both for the education and training needs of local people and for the success of local businesses and employers.”

The campus, which is due to open in autumn 2015, comprises a four-storey building, which will include educational facilities and public amenities including two restaurants, a cafe and a new public square.

The building’s upper three floors will be leased to BEST, who will provide degree level courses and development programmes for up to 2,000 students.

General manager of BEST Ian Harper said the campus would be a modern and exciting place to study:

Mr Harper said: “University Campus Aylesbury Vale is a spectacular addition to Aylesbury – both architecturally and educationally.

“Aylesbury College and Bucks New University created a vision and that vision is now becoming a reality which will help stimulate the local economy and support and develop the area’s residents and companies for decades to come.”

Bob Ensch, area director at Morgan Sindall said: “Topping out ceremonies are traditionally held to mark the completion of work on the main frame of a building. “The completion of the super-structure of any new building is an exciting and proud moment for the project team and it’s great to mark the occasion with this ceremony which has its roots in age-old customs.

“This is a building which will have a great impact on the lives of people living locally.

“This is our third project for Aylesbury Vale District Council and we’re pleased to be providing a first-class facility and expanding and improving the educational and leisure offering available to people in Aylesbury and beyond.

“It’s great to be marking this key milestone alongside our project team and partners.”

The new building on Walton Street will be at the head of the canal basin, next to the Waterside Theatre and will feature an attractive aluminium ‘wave form’ roof.

The ground floor atrium of the building will house an open plan reception area, as well as space for two restaurants and a cafe which will be open to the community.