The main contractor for the University of Cumbria’s new Citadels campus project, Sir Robert McAlpine (SRM), is hosting a ‘Meet the Buyer’ event on Tuesday 13 June to enable local suppliers and contractors to find out more about the project.
Supported by Cumbria Chamber of Commerce and the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), the SRM project team will be on hand during the event which is being held at the Carlisle Station Hotel between 9am-2pm.
Planning permission for the new campus development, which will be delivered in two phases, was granted in August 2022. The new campus is on track to open in August 2026 and prebuild site investigations for phase one will begin later this year.
Partner discussions are ongoing to explore how to deliver best value for money for the c£78m first stage of the development, particularly to maximise the amount (and utility) of space which can be built and refurbished as part of the full campus design plans.
The first phase includes the development of a gateway building on English Street as the main entrance to the university campus and a new teaching block, along with the repurposing of the Woolworths and Burton’s buildings. Phase One development will also include external works, car parking around the development and the introduction of an amphitheatrical courtyard area.
SRM are keen to meet with local suppliers and contractors to discuss the exciting collaboration opportunities related to the project and SRM Project Manager, Mark Robson said: “Given the phased nature of the project, combining elements of new build, refurbishment and works to heritage structures, there are many opportunities to take part in this exciting scheme and we would emphasise it is particularly relevant to small and medium enterprises across a variety of trades.
“As a leading contractor we work closely with our supply chain partners to develop skills and competencies, building strong relationships for the long term, and we are keen to work with small and medium enterprises aligned with our inclusive values, willing to make a positive impact on the local communities and environment.”
Following the opening of phase one in August 2026, the university’s Fusehill Street campus will remain in operation for a period to be determined, as well as providing the first home to the Cumbria School of Medicine. Due to open in 2025, the graduate entry medical school being developed in partnership with Imperial College London aims to encourage more doctors to stay and work in Cumbria.
University of Cumbria vice chancellor, Professor Julie Mennell DL said: “A truly transformational project, the new Citadels campus will increase the accessibility, reach and impact of our academic offer and stimulate greater vibrancy, footfall and investment in our city.
“As with any project of this size and type, there are always challenges and issues to deal with, exacerbated most recently by inflationary pressures.
“The new Citadels Campus is just one part of the successful delivery of our Towards 2030 Strategy, ambition and objectives and we are keen to fully develop the site in the longer term.” The first stage of the project is being enabled through funding secured from the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal (£50million), Carlisle Town Deal Fund (£5million) and university funding.