A major project to reshape the University of Central Lancashire will provide an “iconic gateway” linking the campus with the rest of the city.
One of the key components of this 10-year, £200m “vision” is the total revamp of the Adelphi quarter, replacing the current busy roundabout with a vibrant pedestrianised landscaped area which will draw the general public in.
University vice-chancellor Gerry Kelleher says what is crucial to this redevelopment is public participation and he wants to make the campus and its facilities more accessible.
He said: “The university is part of the community but at the moment the campus is not coherent.
“We want people to come in, that is a very important part of the masterplan.”
Professor Kelleher added that the university has been working with Lancashire County Council on traffic and parking and is looking at a “really radical change to the way the traffic flows in that area”.
The aim is to get rid of the current roundabout and create something which will “improve the commercial fabric” between the university and the city by stimulating new regeneration opportunities on Friargate and Corporation Street. Adelphi Square, as the area is provisionally being called, will be a place for students and staff to meet between lectures, it is hoped local residents and businesses will use it and the gateway greeting visitors tot he university.
It is also envisaged that the square will be a place where functions and events will be held.
The design depicts a large gathering space for events from which a series of terraced steps lead towards the southern end, negotiating the drop in levels and creating seating and paved areas.
To ensure it remains the hub of activity, the buildings framing the space are seen as important as the design of the space itself.
Three proposed buildings define the space and add key functions that in turn generate footfall and interest.
This part of the development will see the current Fylde building demolished to open up the area.
The library will be extended to cater for growing demand and that will include very open, transparent ground-floor housing, retail and reception facilities.
The new £30m Engineering Innovation Centre will be situated the west displaying the university’s work on its ground floor exhibition space and a building to the south, possibly offering start-up business units or staff offices is also planned.
The Adelphi pub will stay and has been included in the plans to provide outdoor eating and drinking.
Lee MacNeall, UCLan Students’ Union President, said: “I think this is a brilliant opportunity for UCLan to develop the campus.
“Not only will it be great for students, enabling them to explore Preston for the great city it is, but I also think it can play a key role in boosting the local economy.”
Have your say on plans for transformation
With more than 36,000 students and over 2,000 employees, UCLan is one of the fastest growing universities in the country and is currently the sixth largest.
As a business, UCLan brings more than £300m a year into the local economy.
Over the past five years the institution has invested more than £100m in infrastructure and technology support projects for both academic and non-academic activities.
These include the £15 million Media Factory which incorporates state-of-the-art facilities for digital media and performing arts students, plus a business incubator facility and the Olympic standard £13 million Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre
This latest proposal is by far the biggest to date.
This week marks the start of a month-long public engagement process to gather views on the proposals.
A dedicated website has been set up at www.uclan.ac.uk/masterplan which incorporates full details of the plan along with a feedback questionnaire for the submission of views and ideas.
Additional face-to-face public engagement drop-in sessions will also take place on campus and in the city centre with UCLan staff available to answer questions on the proposals.