Visit to the University of Kent – Canterbury Campus

Date & Time:13th September 2017

Sibson Building, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7FS

HEDQF visited the University of Kent’s Canterbury Campus, looking at recent projects to expand and update the campus founded some fifty years ago in 1965.  From a start of only 500 students and 150 staff, the University has grown to a major institution of over 20,000 students and over 4,000 staff.

Director of Estates, Peter Czarnomski, explained the University’s recent exercise to develop future plans to update and expand the campus to accommodate growth, one of the major advantages being that the relationship with local communities had been enhance through the extensive consultation with them, whereas 50 years ago there was a feeling that the university had been imposed on them.

Visits to recent projects included the 1960’s Brutalist Templeman Library at the heart of the campus which has been transformed with phased extension and refurbishment to accommodate new ways of study and learning, with the challenge of remaining in use throughout, the Widoger Law Building which accommodates a Moot Court and Law Clinic and the Sibson Building which has successfully brought together two Schools – Business and Mathematics – into one 8.000 sq m interconnected building, around a central atrium, achieving a more successful building than if the two had been separate and encouraging academic synergies and enabling sharing of learning and teaching spaces, all set within woodland on the northern edge of the campus.

Paul Verrion, School Manager of Kent Business School, Ian Goodfellow of Penoyre & Prasad and Adam Worrall of Willmott Dixon Construction will provide insight into the challenges and opportunities of bringing the two schools together and of delivering, in a live campus environment, the largest new building since the founding of the University.  It was encouraging to hear about and experience the dedication to achieving quality in the new building, even though it was procured at a difficult time of rising prices in the building industry.

Thanks to the University of Kent, the speakers, Ian Goodfellow for organising the day and to Willmott Dixon for sponsoring the visit.