Two 1970s student tower-blocks at Aston University are to be reduced to rubble – radically changing Birmingham’s skyline.
Dalton and Lawrence Towers, off Smallbrook Queensway, are to be blown up by demolition experts to launch the key second phase of a new £300 million student village complex.
Demolition Day – on Sunday May 8 – will create university history, with the event the first time that two towers have been razed to the ground on a fully operational campus.
A total of 1,500 students will be evacuated on the day but will still be able to witness the demolition at close quarters from a big screen on the campus.
Aston University is investing £300 million in new facilities and buildings as part of a programme to regenerate the city centre campus and to improve the student experience.
A combination of capital development projects such as new student residences (known as ‘Aston Student Village’) and new research centres will see the campus transformed by 2014.
The first phase of the £215 million ASV programme was completed late last year, providing more than 1,300 en-suite bedrooms plus new features such as wind turbines and storm water recycling. Stage two, which will provide a further 1,050 en-suite bedrooms by 2012, will commence with the demolition of Dalton and Lawrence Towers, two student residences built in the 1970s.
Aston University has worked with industry experts DSM Demolition on the nuts and bolts of the demolition arrangements. A university spokesman said: “Due to the proximity of the towers to other buildings, businesses and major inner city roads, we will be establishing an ‘exclusion zone’ around the site, evacuating three student residences, and closing certain roads and footpaths in the area. “However, the main University building and the Students’ Guild will remain open as the demolition will take place in the examination period. We know just how important campus living is to our students. They want to live in the heart of Birmingham not in the suburbs of Birmingham, and we are going to be able to offer guaranteed top quality accommodation to all first years and all international students.”
The other projects that make up the £300 million regeneration programme include the construction of the first ‘new build’ University Technical College school in the UK– the Aston University Engineering Academy, which will open in September 2012 for 14 to 19 year-olds who wish to study engineering and business.