New £12.75m University Learning Hub will be at the heart of Hartpury’s higher education experience

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Work is underway on Hartpury’s brand-new University Learning Hub, following a breaking ground ceremony on Friday 7 October. Hartpury staff and governors were joined by Mark Harper MP, Vitruvius and leaders from the Forest of Dean District Council which partnered with Hartpury on the successful Levelling Up Fund bid.

The £12.75m University Learning Hub will be at the centre of an immersive higher education experience at Hartpury (rated 6th in the UK for Teaching in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide), creating a two-storey space covering approximately 3048sqm. This is the first new building project implemented exclusively for the institution’s growing undergraduate and postgraduate student population. It follows on from the unveiling of Graze in September 2022, a contemporary catering, teaching and conference facility for use by college and university students.

On the ground floor, students will benefit from a dynamic open plan space where they can collaborate with peers, relax after lectures, or catch up with friends over a coffee at the Red and Black café or via the self-service kitchen. They’ll also be able to access a range of important student support services such as the Innovation, Careers and Enterprise (ICE) team, Academic Registry, and Student Services.

The first floor will offer an altogether different environment, where students can take advantage of a quiet, reflective space in which to study. Here, the university library will support students to access the latest research and journal articles and prove a vital point of reference as they progress along their higher education pathway and prepare for employment (97% of graduates are in employment, further study or other purposeful activity, according to Graduate Outcomes 2022).

The building will be accessible to students 24/7, 365 days a year and will open for use at the end of 2023. Green roofing and landscaping will ensure the building helps local biodiversity and respects the environment, making it great for students and the environment alike.

The project has been part-funded by the Government’s Levelling Up Fund, a result of a local partnership between Hartpury University and Hartpury College, Forest of Dean District Council, Cinderford Town Council and Mark Harper MP. The grant is being used to introduce new health, enterprise, and aspiration opportunities across the Forest. The project will help support the local economy, create jobs and play an important role in raising aspirations for young people in the Forest of Dean and beyond.

Professor Andy Collop, Vice-Chancellor, Principal and CEO of Hartpury, said: “This breaking ground ceremony marks a momentous occasion for Hartpury University as work starts on a building that will revolve solely around the needs of our higher education students.

“The building will bring our most important higher education student services together in one place, serving their study and social needs as well as providing access to support and guidance.

“I must thank our friends and partners at the Forest of Dean District Council and indeed our local MP Mark Harper, who along with Cinderford Town Council and support from GFirst LEP helped to secure support for our region from the Levelling Up Fund. The comprehensive plan that also includes developing leisure facilities locally and repurposing vacant buildings, will generate opportunities for the people of the Forest and help to make the region a great place to live, work, study, and play.”

Hartpury was recently named as the no.1 specialist STEM university for local growth and regeneration, in the second publication of Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF) results released by Research England. The KEF has placed Hartpury in the highest possible band for ‘Local Growth and Regeneration’.

Picture: From left, Lynn Forrester-Walker (Chief Operating Officer at Hartpury), Barbara Buck (Hartpury College Board Vice-Chair), Mark Price (MD of Vitruvius Management Services), Prof Andy Collop (Vice-Chancellor, Principal and CEO at Hartpury), Mark Harper MP (local MP), Tim Gwilliam (Leader of FoD District Council), Edward Keene (Chair of Governors for Hartpury University and Hartpury College), Stuart Emmerson (Director of Business Development at Hartpury), Wendy Jackson (Regeneration Manager at FoD District Council), Peter Williams (Head of Paid Service CEO at FoD Council) at the Hartpury University Learning Hub Ground Breaking Ceremony, 7 October 2022 

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