New student hub sets tone for Marjon University revitalisation

A £3m construction project to redevelop and extend part of the original 1970s concrete frame building at the historic Marjon University near Plymouth has been completed.

The project involved the refurbishment of the northern part of the main campus to consolidate student services into a new centralised “Student Hub”. The old student union bar was relocated to a new extension in order to create space for the new hub.  Another extension included a new 2 storey entrance with a lift shaft providing access to the first floor.

Clarkebond provided a range of engineering consultancy services on the project including structural engineering, flood risk assessment and a drainage strategy that considers the location of the university in a Critical Drainage Area.

Clarkebond’s structural engineers faced a number of challenges associated with the integration of new construction materials and methods into an existing older building.  The reinforced concrete framed building had been extended and adapted many times since its construction in the 1970s.

Each previous extension had a different type of construction and structural form which had to be assessed.   All the existing load paths and lines of support had to be maintained and many areas were covered by finishes which could not be removed or opened (as it was a live university) until the contractor took possession.   This meant that there were some unknowns regarding the existing structure which couldn’t be finalised until they could be accessed. 

All the steelwork designed for the internal alterations had to be designed so it could be “man-handled” into place without heavy plant as access was an issue. 

“It is amazing how, with ingenuity and engineering expertise, these 70s buildings can be transformed.  Marjon now has a first class facility that will serve the next generations of students and set the benchmark for further development,” commented Neil Marks, Commercial Director, Clarkebond.

The project is part of a longer term masterplan to revitalise the University of St Mark and St John and its campus, to create a facility which suitably reflects the quality of its teaching, provides a high standard of facilities, and represents itself positively as a forward thinking organisation.

Architects:  LHC
Contractors:  Midas
M+E Consultants:  Method
PM/QS: Currie and Brown