Former Preston pub is now seat of learning

Inside the new St Francis Building at Cardinal Newman College
Inside the new St Francis Building at Cardinal Newman College
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A multi-million pound project to extend a leading Preston college into an former pub has finished.

The project, which has taken less than a year to complete, has seen the design, build and fitting out of a new four-storey teaching facility at Cardinal Newman College’s city campus.

The development, carried out by Eric Wright Construction, includes purpose-built seminar rooms, plant rooms, open learning and study areas and a fully-equipped IT suite and iso nthe site of the former Kings Tavern pub.

It will be known as the St Francis Building and is the latest of a multi-phase masterplan to improve student facilities at the Lark Hill college, which is ranked in the top two per cent of schools and colleges in the UK.

Over the past few years the college has seen more than £20m worth of development, including a two-storey extension to the St Mary’s Building and an £11m five-storey expansion which is now the St Cecilia Building.

Eric Wright Construction was also involved in internal refurbishments to the second floor of the West Wing and upgrades to the external facades, including replacement of the existing Lark Hill Road entrance and the introduction of a new feature staircase, entrance and glazed link.

Work was also done to an adjacent existing teaching building, which remained in use throughout, with construction works tailored around class timetables so not to disrupt learning.

College principal Nick Burnham, said: “The brand new St Francis Building is a wonderful new addition to the college’s already fantastic facilities. The expansion comes as the college is also expanding its provision into HE courses, including School Direct, an Initial Teacher Training programme and Foundation Degree courses in teaching and learning support and early years.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with how the development has gone and are thrilled with our new building.”

John Wilson, managing director at Bamber Bridge-based Eric Wright Construction, said: “Cardinal Newman College has an outstanding reputation for delivering exceptional teaching and student experiences and these state-of-the-art facilities will bolster academic opportunities for generations to come.

“Colleges are now working extremely hard to ensure their facilities stand tall above the competition and this third phase, along with all previous and future works, will certainly make it stand out to potential students.”