There is a local school choir singing Christmas carols outside the William Morris building and a crowd of people listening to them while drinking hot chocolate and eating mince pies. It can only mean one thing, there’s something going on at Coventry University.
It was a rather special day on Tuesday 8 December because it was the ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the new pedestrianised zone and a redeveloped part of the University campus on Gosford Street.
For the past year, contractors have been working hard to transform the space which is a large-scale redevelopment of Coventry University’s campus and the wider Gosford Street public realm. It all looks wonderful and links different parts of the campus together. At the same time, it has created a new and vibrant walkway complete with new seating areas which are placed around the development.
Officials and staff from the University, the City Council and the main contractors, Balfour Beatty, all gathered to see the this part of the campus being given the seal of approval.
Welcoming everybody and commenting on the unseasonal sunshine, David Soutter, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Planning and Resources) Coventry University, said that the work had been completed before the Christmas break and was a wonderful new space for students and staff. He also thanked all concerned for making it happen and that it was a good example of partnership working between the City Council and the University.
The City Council and Coventry University have a long-standing relationship when it comes to working together on city centre developments and they are often partners in other projects as well.
The Lord Mayor, Councillor Michael Hammon and Councillor Rachel Lancaster, Cabinet Member for Public Services, both praised the University for its recent success – (The University was named ‘University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Awards in London) – you would have had to have been out of the country not to know that because we have been shouting it from the rooftops as we are SO PROUD of our achievement.
The Lord Mayor also spoke about Coventry being fortunate in being home to two excellent Universities which was a bonus for the City’s bid to become the UK City of Culture for 2021. This is another area where the University is working alongside the City Council to support the bid.
It was then left to Councillor Rachel Lancaster to cut the blue ribbon and pose for press photographs with David Soutter and the Lord Mayor and to declare the new space open.
The difference it makes to the area is amazing. It is bright, fresh and practical. From the beautifully designed benches to the spot lights and rainbow coloured lights under the nearby flyover, the whole redevelopment compliments the refurbishment work at both William Morris and the Library and acts as a new gateway to the £55m Engineering and Computing building. It is also a reminder that Coventry University is forever evolving and spending money on improvement work to enhance the student experience.
My only regret was that I missed out on the mince pies!
Well done, however, to all concerned. It is a job well done and makes such a difference to the landscape of the area.
Written by Ali Bushnell
Edited by Esmé Spurling