Vice-Chancellor Jane Longmore was on hand for a topping-out ceremony at University of Chichester’s £35m engineering and digital technology park at the Bognor Regis campus.
Professor Longmore completed a ritual that dated back centuries. It involved pouring oil and wine, as well as tossing salt and corn, off the highest point of the almost-finished building.
The impressive structure will focus on providing STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), as well as lots of educational opportunities for students that could lead to the restoration of the coastal area, says Professor Longmore.
She said: “By combining engineering and design with creative and digital technology in one state-of-the-art development, we will equip graduates with the enterprise skills, creativity and technical knowledge to enter the workforce.
“The technology park will help us to deliver our vision of making our region a place where businesses, large and small, can thrive, create jobs, and where people can access the very best education and training opportunities.”
The building will open September 2018 and will hope to bring 500 students every year to the University’s Bognor Regis campus.
The park will offer opportunities that one can only dream of, says 19-year-old engineering student Louise Grainger, who is from the University’s foundation course that launched this year to make STEM degrees easier to reach.
She explained: “I’m so excited that I will take my first steps into engineering in such an incredible place.
“I’ve always dreamt of one day working for a motor sports or F1 team and now I feel that I can achieve that ambition.”
The project has received plenty of funding, with £2.7m coming from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
Having this building in Bognor Regis will yield many benefits, says director for universities and colleges at HEFCE, Yvonne Hawkins.
She added: “It will not only help the University to become a catalyst for improving participation in science, technology, engineering, and maths in the area, but will also play an important role in developing graduates with the engineering and scientific skills needed to help the UK remain globally competitive.”
Many organisations have supported the building’s development, with Rolls Royce Motor Cars and Sony to name a few. Several small and medium-sized companies have also expressed how important this could be as they believe there is a shortage of workers with STEM skills.