Stepnell awarded Oxford library contract

Rugby-based construction firm Stepnell wins £5.9 million contract to refurbish and extend the New Library at Magdalen College, Oxford

Construction of the new scheme, designed by Wright and Wright Architects, will start in June this year and complete in early 2016.

Stepnell will extend, refurbish and reroof the 1850s-built Grade II* listed Victorian building which was originally designed by John Buckler and built as a single hall school. In 1932, it was converted into a library for the Magdalen community supporting 200 students and 35 Fellows. Student numbers have since tripled, and the library no longer has the space or capability of supporting modern-day user requirements.

The basement of the existing Victorian building will be extended by Stepnell, creating three storeys along with a new connecting one-storey extension. The firm willalso create new library areas and study rooms, flexible working spaces, a passenger lift, staircases and washing facilities. The new energy-efficient building, which will be partially built below ground level and set in a sunken garden, will have a range of sustainable features including a green roof, environmentally-friendly heating, ventilation and lighting systems as well as landscaped areas and a paved courtyard.Disabled access will also be created for the first time throughout the library.

“We are delighted to be working with Magdalen College and respected architects Wright and Wright on this stunning project which will provide much-needed new library facilities for the academic community,” says Pete McDonald, Stepnell contracts manager. “Stepnell has significant expertise in delivering specialist schemes like this for the university sector and we’re committed to ensuring that this project creates local jobs and brings other economic benefits to the community.”

Family-owned Stepnell, which has enjoyed a long working relationship with the Oxford Colleges, most recently carried out a refurbishment programme for Corpus Christi College which was handed over in February this year along with recently completed enabling works for this project.

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