Wates Construction has reached completion of the new National Horizons Centre, Teesside University’s flagship research, teaching and training facility, bringing to fruition a year-long build programme on time and on budget.
Completion of the £22.3 million building marks a major milestone in the creation of the new UK centre of excellence for biosciences, which will be followed by a programme of fit-out works in the run up to the grand unveiling of the new campus later this year.
Wates commenced building work last February and has clocked up a combined 198,643 hours on site to create the brand new centre, which includes new teaching, learning and collaboration spaces as well as hi-tech laboratories and a state-of-the-art computing suite.
During peak periods, Wates’ team has stood at 125 site operatives with extensive opportunities for training and employment for local people also created. This has seen 145 apprentice hours provided on site and 19 work placements for students.
On-site training has also included the contractor’s industry leading Building Futures course, which is designed to introduce local jobseekers to careers in construction. The course at the National Horizons Centre led to long-term employment for 50% of candidates with Wates and its supply chain.
Wates has also fulfilled a commitment to engage with the local community throughout the project, efforts that resulted in a score of 47 out of 50 during a site inspection by the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS). Engagement activities included a visit from a group of two to five year olds from Darlington College Childcare Centre in August last year.
Set to drive growth in the regional and national bioscience industries, the National Horizons Centre will sit at the heart of a cluster of excellence on Darlington’s Central Park alongside the National Biologics Manufacturing Centre and the University’s Centre for Professional and Executive Development.
Darren Vipond, Director of Campus Services at Teesside University, said:
“We are delighted that this major construction milestone has now been completed.
“The National Horizons Centre will play an important role in growing the region’s economy and it’s fantastic to see that its construction has already led to the creation of a number of employment opportunities.”
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said:
“The new National Horizons Centre is one of the biggest investments we have made so far. Our rich history of innovation, research and development is set to continue thanks to this state-of-the-art facility in Darlington.
“Just a year ago, I was stood in an empty field and we were breaking ground on this world-class biosciences research facility – and now we’re seeing the results. I’m also delighted to see that local businesses and local apprentices have benefited from the construction phase.
‘The new economy will be built on biologics and digital – key sectors we need to support. This massive £17.5million commitment of ours is testament to the importance we have placed on securing jobs for the future.”
Paul Dodsworth, Managing Director of Wates Construction North, commented:
“The construction of Teesside University’s National Horizons Centre has been an incredibly rewarding project for all involved. Not only is this a pioneering new facility but its delivery has come with extensive opportunities for the team to contribute to the local community, which has been rightly commended by the CCS.
“I am very proud of what the team here has achieved in the past year. The build quality is second to none, every phase of the project has been delivered efficiently, on time and on budget and with an impeccable health and safety record.”
The National Horizons Centre is being established to support the bioscience sector, which includes biologics, biomedical sciences, industrial biotechnology and digital. It will play a key part in driving STEM skills and economic growth in the Tees Valley, through industry-focused education and training and collaborative research and innovation.
The new centre has been financially supported by the Local Growth Fund, via the Tees Valley Combined Authority and the European Regional Development Fund. The Local Growth Fund contribution of £17.5m represents the Combined Authority’s single biggest investment so far in the Tees Valley.
The project was procured via the YORbuild2 framework, which has been developed to provide an efficient and collaborative approach to the procurement of construction projects. It can be accessed by local authorities, public sector bodies or third sector organisations across the Yorkshire and Humber region, Sheffield LEP area, North East England and Lincolnshire.
Image Caption: (L-R) Dean of the School of Science, Engineering and Design Professor Stephen Cummings, Director of Academic Enterprise Laura Woods and Director of Campus Services Darren Vipond with Wates Construction’s Operations Director Neil Matthias and Project Manager Nick White pictured at the new National Horizons Centre at Teesside University in Darlington.