Flagship building will be Brackenhurst’s new ‘heart of the campus’

The new flagship building for Nottingham Trent University’s Brackenhurst Campus – a main reception and adjoining state-of-the-art environment centre – has been given the go-ahead by planners.

The facility will be the new ‘heart of the campus’, and is central to the university’s ambitious new vision for Brackenhurst – home to the School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences.

The building will include the reception, with a prominent entrance, acting as a welcoming focal point to the campus.

The environment centre, adjoined by a linking entrance foyer, will provide world-class teaching, learning and research into major global challenges around the environment, ecology and conservation.

The centre is also the first step in the university’s ambition to open up Brackenhurst as a visitor attraction.

Exhibition and information space will showcase campus research, teaching and activities to staff, students and members of the public. It will also include a café and dining area, a 200-seat lecture theatre with retractable seating, staff offices and state-of-the-art teaching and research rooms.

The eco-friendly design, with sloping hipped roofs to complement the adjacent Brackenhurst Hall, includes a mezzanine and roof garden and external spaces for staff and students to cultivate.

Building work will begin in 2018 ready for completion the following year.

The Dean of the School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences, Professor Robert Mortimer, said: “This development will form the new ‘heart of the campus’ for Brackenhurst, providing a real gravitas and sense of arrival. It is a significant milestone in terms of our plans for this 500-acre campus, which will see us build upon our reputation as a centre for land-based education, research and enterprise.”

The university revealed its new vision for Brackenhurst last year. Ambitious plans as part of the five-year redevelopment also include the redevelopment of equine, canine and animal facilities, and additional student accommodation.

As well as enhancing teaching and research, the campus will become a centre for commercialisation, enterprise, networking and skills provision – a gateway to services and training for rural businesses.

And the university wants to attract more visitors to Brackenhurst so they can walk through and explore the campus and see the range of facilities, activities and opportunities on offer.

The redevelopment will also help the University to build upon its impressive sustainability credentials and to showcase the campus as an integrated working farm and university, focused on a sustainable and carbon-neutral future.

Work so far has included refurbishment of and Brackenhurst Farm to provide new student social space, refurbishment of the orangery and the creation of a larger teaching laboratory in the Bramley Building.

Professor Edward Peck, Vice-Chancellor of Nottingham Trent University, said: “This is one more example of Nottingham Trent University’s commitment to investing in the facilities that enable our students and our staff to achieve their ambitions.

“This investment is one reason why NTU was awarded a Gold in the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework which confirmed that we deliver the highest quality educational experience available in the UK.”

The campus has been a provider of land-based education and skills training for more than half a century. It offers specialist courses spanning animal and equine science, environmental and wildlife conservation, veterinary nursing, geography, horticulture, environmental science, and food science and technology.