Eric Wright completes Energy Coast UTC

Eric Wright Construction has completed a £6.8m project to build a University Technical College (UTC) in Lillyhall, West Cumbria

Designed by ADP, the Energy Coast UTC specialises in energy and the curriculum has a strong emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), sustainability, clean technologies and construction. 

Under construction since November 2013, the facility opened on September 2, 2014. 

Providing technical education for 14- to 19-year-olds, Energy Coast UTC is sponsored and supported by Gen2 Training, Lakes College and the University of Cumbria. 

The UTC is situated on a site next to ENERGUS, a training and conference centre which students will have access to. 

With entrance and circulation spaces, visible independent learning areas and double-height spaces, sustainability has been a fundamental driver for the architecture. The well-insulated, air-tight building optimizes natural light and ventilation to minimize energy demand for heating, cooling and illumination and has achieved an EPC A rating.

A leader in the education construction sector throughout the north west of England, Eric Wright Construction also delivered the Wigan UTC academy. John Wilson, managing director at the firm, said: “We are thrilled to have completed the new facility which has opened ready for the new term. 

“The project wouldn’t have been such a success without the real team effort from the EFA, Design Team, Lakes College and UTC Governors in overcoming numerous logistical challenges. Together we have managed to produce an innovative but practical learning environment for the young people of Cumbria, ensuring the necessary skillset is provided for the local employers. 

“We are pleased to report that all our commitments to local employment and training were delivered with nearly £2.5m spent within the area during the construction period.” 

Gary Jones, principal of Energy Coast UTC, added: “The Energy Coast UTC is the first brand new educational institution to be built in West Cumbria for 50 years. As such its appearance on the landscape is a significant milestone for the local communities that it serves, not just in terms of its role in educating our young people for their future careers, but also because it represents an investment in West Cumbria’s long term future. It was therefore essential that the building made an impact both visually and functionally. 

“Eric Wright Construction’s winning design encapsulated all of what we wanted from the building. The project itself has gone exceptionally well considering the 39-week schedule and the nature of the Cumbrian climate. It has been a pleasure working with the EWC team throughout the process. We have worked together effectively to produce a building that has already been exceptionally well received by the students, families, staff and other stakeholders it serves. I feel privileged to now take the building into its operational phase and look forward to ensuring, along with our students, it achieves its potential.” 

Joe Morgan, partner at ADP, said: “ADP is delighted and extremely proud to be part of the Energy Coast UTC project. The design and construction process has been exemplary thanks to an engaged and informed client combined with a proactive and committed design team, with Eric Wright at the heart of the process. 

“A strong environmental strategy underpins this elegant and rigorous building that delivers a range of engaging and stimulating spaces for students, staff and visitors alike.  Exceptional value has been delivered through intelligent use of materials, stripping the fabric back to the essential components whilst delivering a 50-year life span, within a marine environment. 

“The Energy Coast UTC is a result of technical R&D process where timber cassettes and SIPS panels combined with modular rainscreen systems have delivered quick and efficient construction markedly less susceptible to weather, and that far exceed the current building regulations for thermal efficiency and air tightness.”

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