By Hannah Mason, Editor-in-Chief
Guests at last night’s ‘Best of UCLan’ event held by the university were the first to get an exclusive look at how Preston could be transformed over the next 10 years.
An audience of honorary UCLan fellows, such as TV journalist Fiona Armstrong, students and representatives from business and the community were treated to a CGI ‘flythrough’ video showing how the campus will evolve throughout different stages of the University’s £200 million Campus Masterplan.
It is the first time the plans have been brought to life digitally, showing how the redevelopment will integrate with the City of Preston as the early stages of the project begin to take shape.
Earlier this year, a dedicated Masterplan website was created and the university held public engagement events and workshops involving local people and community groups of all ages.
The Best of UCLan event wasn’t just to show off the Masterplan but also a showcase of the work taking place at the University, such as areas of teaching and research, business interaction and the creative endeavours of UCLan students. Exhibits included UCLan’s research into cancer, the 3D printing of pharmaceutical tablets, and aerospace and engineering innovation such as a Graphene demonstrator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and Flight Guardian intelligent cockpit warning system.
David Taylor, Pro Chancellor and Chair of the University Board, said: “The event provided a real flavour of the University’s innovation, and the Campus Masterplan is perhaps our most exciting and transformative development yet. Along with our development partners at Lancashire County Council and Preston City Council our aim is to integrate the development seamlessly with the rest of the City, boosting inward investment to benefit current and future generations of students, staff, visitors and the wider community.
“Through our various public engagement initiatives well over a thousand people have taken the time to give us their views and suggestions on the Masterplan; information which has been hugely useful and used to inform our plans. As the plans become a reality we remain committed to engaging with neighbours and the wider stakeholder community, listening to and acting upon any concerns.
“The project is so complex and far-reaching that at present it’s difficult to visualise the finished scheme and the way it will enhance the city. That’s why we were so excited to be able to bring it to life through our Masterplan Flythrough video.”
Interim Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mike Thomas, added: “The wonderful research, teaching, business and community initiatives demonstrated at The Best of UCLan are proof that the University has all the ingredients in place to realise the challenging targets we’ve set ourselves over the next five years.
“At the heart of our new strategy is a commitment to retain our reputation as a beacon for access into quality higher education, enabling people, irrespective of their backgrounds, to fulfil their potential, meet their life and career goals and help support our communities.”
A key element of the University’s development plan is the construction of a £30 million-plus Engineering Innovation Centre (EIC) due to be completed in the spring of 2018. The EIC has been identified as a signature project within the Government’s Growth Deal programme and was awarded £10.5 million via the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership to help achieve the scale and quality required for a nationally significant centre of excellence.
UCLan’s Masterplan Flythrough video can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/UKfHXsHo6Tc