25 April 2013

Contractor announced for UTC Swindon

UTC Swindon

UTC Swindon took a significant step this month with the appointment of the education facility’s building contractor.

BAM Construction has been granted Selected Panel Member status and brings a wealth of experience in building contracts, including work for existing UTC developments.

During the tendering process, the company produced a set of impressive initial site designs for UTC Swindon, based on the preferred Mill Site location.

It is anticipated that building work will begin in the autumn of 2013 and comprehensive designs will now continue to be progressed. As announced in January, the proposed site is subject to lease negotiations, planning permission and Government approval.

Dr Gareth Neighbour

The college will represent a first class and leading educational institution providing an exceptional learning experience for young people.

As well as being in the heart of the town with easy walking access to the train and bus stations, the proposed Mill Site, which remains the preferred option, goes back to the heritage of engineering and education first created as part of the Great Western Rail works.

The old school building and the water tower will be key parts of the site, being grade 2 listed, with the water tower planned to be restored to its former glory and will be combined with renovation of all the existing buildings on the site.

This will involve a very careful blend of new build with building materials and structures designed to be sympathetic to the heritage requirements to complement the historic nature of the site, working closely with English Heritage and the Mechanics’ Institution Trust.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mathematical Sciences has been involved in this project from the start: helping to construct the bid and informing the curriculum development throughout the process. Dr Gareth Neighbour (Head of the Department), acting as Chair of the Design users group has led on the Education Plan and is one of the three Directors with Paul Inman (Dean and Pro Vice-Chancellor) and the Principal of Swindon College (to be appointed).

Dr Neighbour reported that “I am very pleased with the outcome of the proposed college which from the beginning sought to be innovative, iconic and an inspirational building upon the strong engineering heritage in Swindon. The college will represent a first class and leading educational institution providing an exceptional learning experience for young people. I am excited in seeing the project move through this important milestone and towards realisation. Brookes is passionate about engaging with the wider community and seeking to support projects as UTC Swindon."

Paul Inman, Pro Vice-Chancellor at Oxford Brookes University, said: “We are delighted that BAM Construction has been awarded this prestigious contract and look forward to working with them to help deliver what will be a unique educational enterprise for Swindon."

"BAM are a leading construction company because of their creative approach towards design and sustainability. Their design work for the UTC buildings are both refreshingly innovative and complementary to the engineering heritage of the former rail works. This appointment is the latest significant step as we make good progress on what is a leading-edge educational initiative.”

Simon Peet, Engineering Manager at Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells, commented: “We are very pleased that BAM Construction has been awarded this contract and excited in reaching another key project milestone. The next project priority is to finalise the design with BAM Construction and in parallel progress with the planning and English Heritage approval, before the capital funding approval in the summer.”

“The BAM design will provide the professional environment for a vocational balance in education and equipped to the highest standards, that will provide the next generation of Engineers fit for the work place.”

Pat Griffin, Senior Design Manager for BAM Construction, said: “UTC Swindon Sponsors chose a site rich in education and industrial heritage for a reason. This project is a perfect opportunity to revitalise the proposed site’s historic relevance and BAM is thrilled that its proposed design for UTC Swindon has been chosen."

“We will use our skills and experience in delivering what we hope will become an iconic building for Swindon to advance its opportunities.”

UTCs are a new concept in technical education for students aged 14 to 19 and are focused on delivering first class teaching which also supports the needs of regional employers.

During a typical 9 to 5 day at UTC Swindon, which is due to open in September 2014, students will combine practice and theory to integrate academic requirements with key technical and practical elements. Engineering employers who will provide project support and work experience for students will heavily influence the college ethos and curriculum.

Information on Oxford Brookes work with UTC Swindon

More general information is available online at