Solihull construction consultants Emprima has been appointed by Aston Student Villages as project managers for the second phase of its £215 million scheme to build a new student village on the Aston University campus in Birmingham.
Emprima’s managing director, Neil Pountney, described the appointment as a “tremendous boost” for the construction industry, which has been one of the worst-hit sectors of the current recession.
He said: “The Trust’s decision to move towards the second phase of its ambitious programme reflects not only confidence in the ability of the Midlands to bounce back from the recession but also Aston University’s own determination to become one the country’s top ten universities of the future.
“By continuing with its regeneration policy, the university will also help to provide much-needed employment opportunities within the construction industry and its allied trades.”
Emprima, which also specialises in economic development, regeneration, planning and construction consultancy, was, in 2007, awarded the contract to project manage the first phase of the student village project after a competitive process which saw it beat off bids from national rivals.
The £55 million second phase of the project will involve the removal of a number of existing buildings, including two of the existing 1970s’ high-rise towers in the centre of the university campus, to make way for the construction of two new blocks to the north-west of campus.
Mr Pountney said detailed studies in respect of phase two would commence as soon as possible, with Emprima also advising the trust on the appointment of other members of the consultancy team and, eventually, building contractors by competitive tender from a selected list.
Final completion of the scheme in 2013 – which commenced in 2008 – will enable Aston to be one of the most sustainable university communities in Europe, providing environmentally-friendly, BREEAM ‘Excellent’-rated sustainable buildings, incorporating 2,400 student rooms, all built to high-quality standards and with en-suite bathrooms. The development will also include retail and sports facilities for students together with management offices.
Richard Middleton, a trustee of Aston Student Villages and Chief Operating Officer of Aston University said: “The first phase of building is providing 1,350 en-suite rooms and will be available for occupation next year.
“However, because the new accommodation will be built before the demolition of the tower blocks there will never be a reduction in the number of rooms available.”