Kaplan College 1

SITE VISIT | Paddington Village’s Kaplan College

Charlie Schouten

Kaplan International’s site in Liverpool is a key part of the Paddington Village jigsaw and will become the college’s first ‘live-learn’ facility, providing student accommodation and teaching space in one building.

Opposite the University of Liverpool, the £1bn Paddington Village forms part of the Knowledge Quarter and is a major development site, with a flurry of construction work under way and with more on the horizon.

Morgan Sindall has already started clearing parts of the site to make way for the Northern headquarters of the Royal College of Physicians, known as The Spine, while Interserve is progressing with a £35m Cancer Centre for Proton Partners International.

The project furthest down the track is Kaplan International College’s £28m facility, due to open in September 2019. Main contractor Kier has been on site since the end of October last year delivering the project, which will offer 259 beds over 13 storeys, along with 27,000 sq ft of education space.

At the time of Place North West’s visit, the groundworks are nearing completion and the contractor is now beginning to progress with the building’s concrete frame.

Two tower cranes are on the site to help build the structure up to 13 storeys, with the taller section of the building home to student apartments, while a three-storey section will house flexible education space.

Mast climbers will sit on top of the three-storey education block to build the student spaces, while modular techniques including bathroom pods will be used, with four of these at the building’s second level, and around 25 on each floor above this point.Kaplan College 6

Student apartments will be primarily in the form of five-bedroom clusters, although there are some studio apartments reserved for the top floor.

Kaplan’s current operation is housed at the University of Liverpool’s Pilkington Building on its main campus, but it will use the new facility as one of its main teaching facilities once it opens next year.

Kaplan will continue to work with the University to provide pathways for international students, primarily from the Far East, into work and further education in the UK. Once students have passed their pathway course at the International College, they are guaranteed a place at the University of Liverpool.

Kier is due to hand over the site to Kaplan’s team in June, with a buffer period to allow staff to get to know the building, and to make sure all its teaching space is tried and tested.

Educational facilities are open plan, focussed around break-out pods, flexible teaching and social spaces, along with a café on the ground floor.

The teaching space has a number of folding walls to create auditoriums of varying sizes to make it as flexible as possible.

Public realm outside will link to the proposed St Mary’s Way, which will run through the entire Paddington Village once the masterplan completes. The college’s external landscaping works will tie in with the wider site, through an overall plan designed by landscape architect Ares.

As the site progresses and more projects get under way – including a proposed car park just off Elm Grove, only a stone’s throw from the Kaplan site – the area will become increasingly congested, but the contractors are all working together to ensure projects are delivered as efficiently as possible, with Interserve, Kier, and Morgan Sindall holding fortnightly meetings to keep each other updated on their progress.

Kaplan’s new college will welcome its first students in the 2019/20 academic year. Alongside Kier, the professional team on the project also includes architect CPMG, M&E consultant Building Services Design, and Curtins as structural design consultant.

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Good progress here and more to come I am told?

By The Professor