Anglia Ruskin opens 8m music and arts facility

Published: 15 December 2005 at 15:32

From worn out music practice huts to extensive new music and arts facility

Higher Education Minister and Harlow MP, Bill Rammell 'officially' opened the impressive new music and arts facility within the recently refurbished Helmore Building, on which work began in 2003. During his visit he performed a plaque unveiling ceremony after being given a tour of the building.

The new facility occupies the site of what was previously a large car park. A series of wooden music practice huts, which lined the car park, were formerly used by students of music who could be heard learning to master a wide variety of musical instruments. Now in place of the huts, stands the imposing £8m Helmore building, the first of three new buildings planned for the Cambridge campus, designed by architects Hawkins Brown and built by contractors William Verry. 

The main four storey building contains the music department and additional teaching rooms for students of the University's Faculty of Arts, Law and Social Sciences (ALSS). It features an interlocking two story office block (given over to the offices and leisure facilities of the Students' Union), an internal walkway, known as 'The Street' and a row of modern, acoustically separated music practice rooms. The building now forms one edge of a new and spacious external courtyard area which is criss-crossed by student pathways.

Speaking at the opening, Bill Rammell said:

"The aim of the Government is to get more young people into further and higher education, not only for the benefit of the individuals but for the whole of society. Universities, such as Anglia Ruskin, are doing a tremendous job in helping us to improve the numbers of students who are extending their education.”

"In terms of participation we, in the UK, are behind our international counterparts and this is a situation that must change. It is predicted that within a very short time over 50% of jobs on offer will require graduate level entry."

Said Professor Monika Pruetzel-Thomas, Dean of ALSS:

"I am delighted that the Minister had the opportunity to visit the new building and meet some of our hard working music and language students during his tour."

Vice Chancellor Professor David Tidmarsh concluded:

"The opening of this impressive new facility heralds a major improvement in Anglia Ruskin's Cambridge campus facilities from which all students can benefit. We now have a new central focus for the campus, additional high quality teaching and learning spaces, and the provision of a much improved social centre for students.”

"We are opening out the campus to the city, making Anglia Ruskin more visible and prestigious and further raising our profile in Cambridge."

The removal of the car parking area within the campus has seen the University take a positive lead in helping with the move towards a more sustainable transport policy for Cambridge.

Anglia Ruskin University will be investing £55m in its dual campus infrastructure over the next few years. The university has 28,000 students spread across its two campus locations - at Cambridge and Chelmsford - and among its various regional partner colleges.