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18/04/2019

Willmott Dixon Completes University Development

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The cutting-edge, £36 million University of Warwick Sports and Wellness Hub has now opened to staff, students and the community, marking the completion of a unique project delivered by Willmott Dixon.

Replacing all former on-campus health and fitness facilities, the 16,684 sq ft, David Morley Architects-designed Hub features smart building technology throughout, with coolant technology providing the temperature for any given sport and dynamic lighting automatically adjusted in certain rooms at certain times of the day to create the optimal ambience.

The swimming pool features a boom – a floor that can be raised or lowered to accommodate competitions or general use, at the touch of a button – while digital technology in the rowing room gives users a sense of rowing outside.

Alongside the technological innovations, the Sports and Wellness Hub has been designed to accommodate a vast array of sports and uses. The main hall is a multi-functional space with high ceilings that offers a feeling of breathable space; the 15m-high climbing wall provides 144 different routes; and the gym is the largest in the higher education sector with 230 stations.

The combination of the level of smart technology present within the building, the location of the site on an active university campus, and the scale of delivery required Willmott Dixon to come up with a number of unique solutions including the off-site construction of the plant room.

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Digital construction technology played a significant role throughout the delivery of the Hub, ensuring total clarity on the final building and quality of finishes from the outset.

Peter Owen, managing director for Willmott Dixon in the Midlands, said: "This was a hugely exciting and unique project. The design of the building and the level of smart technology that has been implemented throughout is outstanding.

"This project also featured extensive innovative use of digital construction technology, beyond BIM, which was crucial in achieving a quality finished product.

"We have a strong existing relationship with the University and were able to finish the outdoor sports pitches six months early, so that they could be hired out and generate income."

Willmott Dixon diverted 100% of waste away from landfill during the project and sourced 73% of local labour from within a 40-mile radius, supporting regional employment.

The contractor also ensured 85% of its spend was within a 40mile radius of the site, and generated significant added value for the community, providing 230 weeks of work experience to local people, 745 weeks of apprenticeship schemes, supporting 23 NVQs and holding 1,600 school, college and university workshops on site.

Set in a combination of hard and soft landscaping, the Hub features natural ventilation and views of the surrounding woodland in all directions, with other facilities including a fitness and martial arts studios, and squash courts.

Externally, there are 3G sports pitches, car parking, and netball courts, with the Hub acting as the training ground for Coventry's Wasps Netball Superleague team.

The Sports and Wellness Hub is a crucial part of the University's estates strategy and plays a key role in its ambition to be the most physically active campus community in the UK by 2020.

Lisa Dodd-Mayne, Director of Sport & Active Communities at the University of Warwick, said: "The Sport and Wellness Hub is a world-class facility in Coventry and Warwickshire open to everyone and will inspire everyone who walks through the door to get active.

"We have worked closely with Willmott Dixon for the duration of the project to deliver on the design and it is fantastic to see it now ready to open. The Hub is more than just a building – it will transform and change people's lives.

"As a University, we are working toward being the most active campus in the UK by 2020 and the Hub will be central to achieving that goal.

"The Hub will transform sport on our campus, but it is also open to members of the public and local communities, to take advantage of one of the finest facilities in the region."

This is the second project that Willmott Dixon has recently completed at the University of Warwick, following delivery of teaching and learning facility, the Oculus Building in 2017.

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