Beard continues growth in Oxford

The construction firm will build the University of Oxford’s first dedicated access facility at Wadham College

Oxford construction firm, Beard, has been awarded an £11.5 million contract to create the city’s first dedicated access facility for welcoming prospective Oxford students, as well as a new undergraduate centre at Wadham College in Parks Road.

Beard will construct the Dr Lee Shau Kee Building, housing the College’s access and outreach programme. The new three-storey facility will offer purpose-built space for welcoming schools and hosting Wadham’s access programmes and residential summer schools.

Beard will create 20 bedrooms with ensuites, three of which will be accessible and two will be assisted-accessible. The desks within the assisted rooms will be adjustable in height to suit varying requirements, and all rooms will be designed so that wheelchair-users can access the main living area. The scheme will provide shared kitchens, a 50-seat seminar room with partitioning, a meeting room and a music room.

The construction firm will also build the new three-storey William Doo Undergraduate Centre, which will be linked by an integrated walkway to the Dr Lee Shau Kee Building. The Centre will provide student study areas, social break-out space, student kitchens, a café and bar, art room, and an e-hub with administration offices on the top floor. It will also house a new junior common room, where undergraduate students can gather to study, exchange ideas and socialise.

“A significant part of the build will be manufactured off-site to reduce carbon miles and improve the speed, safety and quality of the construction.”

The project will involve demolishing the above-ground levels of the existing junior common room and 1950s Goddard Building. The existing basement level will be refurbished to house bike storage, a laundry room and a band music room. Lifts will provide full access to all four floors, including the basement.

“We are delighted to be delivering these two fantastic new centres, which will not only improve access to Wadham College and its buildings, but provide students with a modern, welcoming and inclusive learning environment,” said Richie Carter, Beard’s Contracts Manager. “As the construction will be taking place in a live campus environment, our project team will be programming works to minimise their impact on the College’s day-to-day activities.”

Designed by AL_A Architects, the two centres have been scaled to fit with the College’s historic surroundings. The development will have a 25% greater area than the College’s existing buildings, but significantly lower energy consumption, thanks to energy-saving features such as high thermal efficiency, solar roof panels and maximised natural lighting. A significant part of the build will be manufactured off-site to reduce carbon miles and improve the speed, safety and quality of the construction.

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