Beard begins work on major renovation at Nuffield College in Oxford

Award-winning contractor Beard has begun work on a major renovation project at Nuffield College, a graduate college of Oxford University.

The three-phase, £3.3 million project will see Beard undertake significant remodelling and accessibility improvements across the Grade II listed building. In the first phase – which is already underway – Beard is building new, fully accessible facilities in multiple locations at the college site.

Phase two will see Beard relocating the main entrance, moving the porters’ lodge to the Worcester Street entrance to the College, where it was originally planned to be, providing more modern and accessible facilities. This will then be followed by phase three, with the existing lodge site transformed into accessible meeting spaces, as well as the refurbishment of existing facilities to create a new 100-person lecture theatre.

Throughout the project, the Beard team will also be completing major landscaping works to improve access to the ground floor spaces. In addition to raising the paving in the upper and lower quads to door level, Beard will also be increasing ramped access between the quads.

To meet the requirements of the Grade II listed building and reduce the loss of embodied energy, Beard will be retaining and re-using the old York stone paving slabs.

The project, which is set to complete next summer, is taking place in a live building. As a result, Beard has split the project into 15 mini-phases to ensure the college can maintain access. Meanwhile, the team has implemented partitions, walkways and fences, as well as a full-time traffic marshal to keep all members of the college safe.

This is particularly important as the college’s arched entranceway will mean deliveries will have to be forklifted onto the site, while materials used for the landscaping will be transported using dumper trucks.

Dean Averies, Beard director for Oxford, said:

 “Beard has built a formidable reputation in the education sector and we’re incredibly proud of the longstanding partnership we have with Oxford University and its colleges. To be chosen once again to support the growth of one of the country’s finest educational institutions is certainly not lost on us.

“Working on any listed or heritage building presents its own challenges, especially when the building is still active and in regular use. However, we have plenty of experience in complex refurbishments in education and in live environments across Oxford and further afield. The college has clear ambitions to enhance its facilities – and we believe we have the skills and expertise to help make that a reality.”

Andrew Dilnot, Warden of Nuffield College, adds:

 “This project represents one of the most significant interventions made to the College since it was built. The works will radically improve accessibility into and around the main College site and through the refurbishment of internal areas will provide outstanding facilities which will further support the College’s core functions as a centre for research and teaching in the social sciences. We are pleased to see Beard begin work and are grateful to them and the wider professional team on the project for the expert ways in which they are approaching what is a very complex project while also enabling the College’s day to day activities to continue to the fullest extent possible. We look forward to the project’s completion next summer.”

Stuart Cade, Project Director, MICA Architects said:

“The team at MICA Architects is delighted to see our transformative scheme for Nuffield College start on site. The far-reaching proposals have been carefully developed with the College, and its stakeholders over a number of years, and we look forward to working with the skilled and experienced Beard team to bring them to fruition.

“The phased projects marry sensitive conservation with carefully considered contemporary interventions that transforms accessibility within the College and provides staff, students and visitors with a new Lodge, Lecture Theatre, communal facilities and newly landscaped gardens. We look forward to the completion and to see the exciting new facilities and spaces in use.”

Nuffield College is the latest in a long line of projects picked up by Beard in the region, and for Oxford University. The award-winning contractor, with offices in Swindon, Bristol, Oxford and Guildford, has also previously worked on Brasenose College and St John’s College for the university, and Abingdon School. The project also extends the partnership between Beard and MICA architects.

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