University Refurbishments: Creating the Right Environment for Students

wake-canvas-idea-460x306At the Hightown Group we take great pride in our association with the education sector in the UK. Over the years, we’ve helped a number of universities carry out major refurbishments, bringing our expertise to the look and feel of some of the most iconic institutions in the country, at the same time creating highly attractive environments for student’s and academic staff to thrive.

There are a number of reasons why universities are wanting to undertake major refurbishments today. It’s often seen as a cheaper choice compared to a new build but it is also a way of meeting obligations to deliver on sustainability and accessibility. Competition for students is growing all the time as well; creating fresh and attractive environments to learn in is seen as a vital part of attracting top quality research academics and students.

The Cost

While many universities might want to tear down old buildings and start again, this is not only a major undertaking when it comes to design and development it can also be extremely costly. Even with their increased income over the last decade or so, universities still have to watch the amount they spend and account for every penny. Often, a viable alternative to any new build is to carry out a refurbishment that can deliver a new look for a lot less money.

Providing a Modern Teaching Environment

With students now having to pay more for their tuition, universities are also under pressure to provide a better and more responsive learning experience. Many have buildings that were built in the late sixties and seventies which are in need of updating, and a refurbishment that adds new cladding and double glazed windows can make a big difference. Many universities are going much further than simply improving the exterior look of their campuses. Providing students with state of the art facilities that actually attract top talent, including academics, is now seen as an important part of any future business planning.

Lower Maintenance

Older buildings have multiple problems and are generally harder to maintain. One of the major reasons for undertaking refurbishments is to reduce these maintenance costs. Universities have estates of 30 to 40 buildings on average and all need to be heated properly, lifts kept working and a host of other upkeep tasks performed on a daily basis.

More Sustainable and Accessible Buildings

We are all being asked to act in more sustainable ways. A refurbishment can reduce the carbon footprint of a university, adding energy efficient materials and systems. Not only are universities getting smart new spaces for students to meet, work and socialise but these are now heated by new technology, lit by low cost LED and insulated with the latest double glazing and cavity wall insulation, raising DEC ratings as well as comfort levels. With more efficient water and heating systems, students are walking into environments that are highly sustainable and fit for purpose.

It’s not just improved sustainability that is an issue. Access for everyone has always been a problem for universities with older, under maintained buildings. Undertaking a refurbishment can make sure that those with disabilities or special needs are able to access all areas including conveniences, lecture theatres, tutorial rooms and offices.

If you would like to find out more about how the Hightown Group can help your organisation with upcoming projects call us on 0151 214 3402 or email and one of our team of professionals will be glad to help.