Work is due to start shortly on the first new-build project to be undertaken at the new University of Cumbria, which launched on 1 August 2007.
The £8.5m building was designed by Preston-based architects Wilson Mason and will be the focal point of the university's Lancaster campus. Facilities include a catering outlet, offices and educational areas across 30,085 sq ft.
The centre is designed to be environmentally sensitive, maximising the use of natural ventilation and local, natural materials. It has been designed to secure a BREEAM 'very good' rating.
The £5.4m construction contract is due for completion in August 2008.
Alan Williams, project architect at Wilson Mason, commented: "This is the first project to arise from the university's new estates strategy. The building will be a focal point for student services and has been designed as a new entrance space for the campus, to reflect its new status."
Prof Christopher Carr, University of Cumbria vice chancellor, said: "The plans for the new building are very impressive and I look forward to seeing it completed next year.
"This is just the start as more development is anticipated in the future as we aim to expand and improve our facilities across all our campuses."
The University of Cumbria was formed by the merger of St Martin's College, Cumbria Institute of the Arts and the Cumbrian campuses of the University of Central Lancashire and was opened by James Purnell MP, Secretary of State for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport on 1 August.