The University of Northampton and Kier Construction are pleased to announce that the ‘topping out’ ceremony for the new St John’s student halls of residence took place on Thursday 23 May 2013.
In building construction, ‘topping out’ is traditionally the ceremony held when the structural frame to a new building is complete. To mark the occasion, a tree was presented to the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nick Petford, by Kier Construction on the roof of St John’s. This harks back to a time when buildings were built from timber, and trees had to be felled to provide materials.
Professor Nick Petford was joined by Councillor Les Marriott in his first official engagement as the Mayor of Northampton. Representatives from Kier Construction, Northampton Borough Council, Northamptonshire County Council, West Northamptonshire Development Corporation (WNDC), Northamptonshire Police and local residents were also in attendance to celebrate this important milestone in the development.
Professor Nick Petford commented: “We are pleased and proud to be in the final stages of development for our new student accommodation right in the heart of Northampton town centre. We have worked with local residents and businesses to create something that the whole community can benefit from and student input has been vital in ensuring that the accommodation meets the needs of the incoming students.
“This development is fundamental to improving the economy of Northampton and is expected to generate almost £3 million spending in the town each year, in addition to the £325 million the University already contributes to the regional economy every year.”
Kier Construction’s Managing Director for the region, Ian Cheung, added: “As a locally based company, we are delighted to be working alongside the University of Northampton on this exciting project and to have reached this important stage in the construction works, as we deliver a building of which the town will be proud.”
The University was granted planning permission in April 2012 to build the new halls in the centre of Northampton and appointed Kier Construction to start building work in July 2012. The halls of residence are due to be completed in January 2014 and will comprise 464 bedrooms available to a mix of students, including postgraduates and international students. The development will bring additional footfall to the town centre and a sense of vibrancy to the area connecting the town centre to Becket’s Park and the wider area.