New University of Bath Centre for the Arts will aim to maximise space

A new business plan for the University’s ‘Centre for the Arts’ has been drawn up to ensure any new space created can be used to the maximum benefit of all students, staff and the community.

The primary use of the centre will still be to provide an arts facility for the University, but this new plan also includes creating flexible spaces which can be used by other University activities such as teaching, conferences and Continuing Professional Development.

Additionally, new spaces will be included in the design to support the delivery of Executive MBA programmes by the School of Management.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Kevin Edge said: “The original plan to build a new arts complex was approved in 2009, but since then it has become apparent that any new building needs to be as flexible as possible to maximise the benefit it provides to our students.

“The business plan for the new development takes on board the need for flexibility whilst retaining the focus on the future strategy for the arts at the University.”

Proposed spaces and facilities in the ‘Centre for the Arts’ include:

  • The existing Arts Theatre (refurbished and including integrated green room and improved backstage facilities);
  • A performance studio;
  • A dance studio;
  • Visual arts studios;
  • A visual arts gallery;
  • Ensemble rehearsal room;
  • Large music practice studios;
  • Dedicated high specification teaching rooms;
  • Offices;
  • A social area with some catering facilities.

The Institute of Contemporary Interdisciplinary Arts (ICIA) will be the primary user of the new building for the delivery of student led activities, and its public programmes of classes, workshops, performances and exhibitions in the visual arts, dance, theatre and music.

However, the increased flexibility of the new plan means that a number of the spaces, primarily the Arts Theatre and studios, could also be used as teaching spaces or for hosting conferences.

“This new business plan offers an exciting opportunity to enhance the University campus - providing both a new base for the arts and additional flexible teaching space,” said Professor Edge.

John Struthers, Director of the ICIA, said: "These new facilities will make a huge difference to what ICIA can offer to our students, staff and the wider B&NES community. When complete the Centre for the Arts will be as asset with regional and national importance."

Ann Howell, Students' Union Vice-President Activities and Development (with a responsibility for the arts societies), said: "I am very excited about the new plans. The proposed facilities will be a vast improvement on the current arts provision and will be a fantastic resource for many students.

“I eagerly await the first draft of the building designs and look forward to seeing some fantastic events in the new facility in 2013."

The next stage in the process is to appoint a firm of architects for the new Centre. In due course an advertisement will be placed in the European Journal, as part of the selection process, inviting architects to express their interest in the retainer. Other consultants, project managers, quantity surveyors, mechanical & electrical and civil/ structural engineers will be drawn from the University’s consultant framework. 

The University will be targeting a low energy building – the total project budget including VAT and fees is £10.75m. 

It is hoped that construction work on a new Centre for the Arts will begin in September 2012.

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