Eric Wright lined up for MMU project

The firm has been selected to transform the former Manchester Metropolitan University students’ union into an Institute of Sport with work due to start in April.

The contract, tendered through the Procure Partnerships Framework, is thought to be worth £12.5m.

A planning application for the 50,000 sq ft project on Oxford Road, which will see the existing building fully refurbished, was approved last week.

The four-storey former student union building, next to Sidney Street and the Mancunian Way flyover,  has been used as offices since the university completed its new student union on Higher Cambridge Street.

The BDP-designed centre will include teaching and laboratory facilities with a focus on medical imaging and biomechanics. The facility will also accommodate a Tesla MRI scanner.

Plans for the institute were originally mooted for a site close to Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium as part of the council’s Eastlands masterplan but ultimately the university sought an option which was both more affordable and more in-keeping with its long term vision.

Professor Malcolm Press, vice-chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “As a centre of excellence, the Manchester Metropolitan University Institute of Sport will enable us to meet our vision of being a world-leading provider of sports and exercise learning, teaching and research.

“Bringing relevant staff and students together in this way creates an energetic and inspiring environment in which they can continue to make a profound difference to widening participation in grassroots sports and improving the performance of professional athletes, as well as contributing positively to the region’s wider well-being.”

Alongside Eric Wright, the project team includes planner Deloitte and engineer Curtins, as well as Gardiner & Theobald and Hoare Lea.

The centre is expected to open its doors in time for the 2021/22 academic year.

The scheme forms part of MMU’s wider masterplan which will see the university invest £379m into its campus over the coming years, including a £45m, 160,000 sq ft science and engineering campus off Chester Street.

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