Stepnell has started the £13.5 million second extension of St John’s College library at Oxford University.

The firm has begun construction of the development and was awarded the contract after it extended and refurbished the New Library at Magdalen College last year, with Wright & Wright Architects designing both schemes.

This extension will equip the site with a central archive in the President’s Garden and a two storey study centre.

It will also connect the site to the college’s Canterbury Quadrangle, which is home to three of its four libraries – the 15th century Old Library, the Paddy Room and the Laudian Library.

Andrew Parker, principal bursar at St John’s College, said that a number of Fellows from St John paid a visit to the construction at Magdalen in the project’s final phases and were all impressed with the work that they hope will be replicated at St John’s.

The extension, which will be adjoined to the first floor of the Laudian Library, will increase the present seating facilities two fold and raise the book shelving capacity significantly, as well as featuring a number of study areas.

The College’s collections of rare and special books will now be located in one central location in the library’s basement, providing an area devoted to climate controlled archives.

Meanwhile, the heating and power of the latest construction will be generated by renewable energy sources through ground source heating.

The college has commissioned artist, Susanna Heron, to create an engraving that will be carved on the study centre’s external stone wall.

Steve Burgess, regional director at Stepnell, said that the firm are pleased to have been chosen to construct such a challenging and exciting new project for the college and to be working in partnership with Wright & Wright Architects.

He added that the new study centre and library will give students an improved environment for learning as well as more flexible space arrangements.