Students, staff and visitors gathered to celebrate the opening of the Gateway, the new learning and development building at the University of Bedfordshire’s Bedford Campus.
Situated at the entrance to the campus, the Gateway is the centrepiece of a stunning £25m redevelopment which has transformed the campus.
Bill Rammell, Vice Chancellor of the university, said at the opening on Friday, January 30: “The opening of the Gateway is part of our commitment to ensure we provide the very best facilities to support our students throughout their studies.
“It marks the culmination of a huge investment at the campus, with the aim to give our students the best learning teaching experience possible.”
Students were represented at the opening by the President of Beds SU Jordan Lewis. Jordan, a former student at the university, has seen at first hand the changes at the Bedford Campus.
He said: “The Gateway is a great example of the university listening to its students.
“Students today demand high quality lecture theatres and seminar rooms. They expect state-of-the-art technology to support their learning and they want somewhere nice to go when they’re not at lectures.
“And I have to say, looking at the Gateway today – the University of Bedfordshire has delivered on all accounts.”
Building work started on the Gateway in October 2013, and just 15 months later students are timetabled for lectures and seminars from the start of February.
As well as the new teaching and learning building, the redevelopment of the Bedford Campus includes a national standard 300 seat capacity sports arena, and an all-weather, multi-use Astro Turf games area. A new fitness centre is also planned to open this month.
The Gateway is part of the University’s wider ‘greening of the campus’ initiative and includes a number of sustainable and low carbon technologies. The university was recently awarded a first class honours in the People and Planet Green League for its efforts in tackling sustainability.
The new building will offer the university’s students a whole host of new facilities. These include high quality teaching spaces, informal learning spaces, and lecture theatres - including a Harvard style lecture theatre - as well as a new student services centre.
Mr Rammell added: “We started out with a plan to create the very best of learning environments for our students and deliver an outstanding student experience. I am delighted to say that this building will enhance student learning and provide an outstanding and fulfilling student experience here in Bedford.”
>> The University of Bedfordshire has over 24,000 students, representing over 100 countries. Around 35% of students are aged over 25 and about three-quarters of students receive financial support from the university. Between 2006 and 2013 over £180 million has been invested in new facilities at the university, which contributes approximately £300 million annually to the local economy.