Students inspire £1.2 million visitor centre at Gedling Country Park

The design of a new £1.2 million visitor centre being built at Gedling Country Park- the home of a former colliery- has been inspired by students at Nottingham Trent University.

Gedling Borough Council approached the University for its  input into the project, which will have facilities including a modern café, an outdoor seating area overlooking the park and a children’s play area.

The aim of the build is to celebrate the site’s mining history.

The second year Architectural Technology students – from the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment – were given a comprehensive brief, issued by Melvin Cryer from Gedling Borough Council and the Friends of Gedling Country Park Group.

To begin the 45 students spent time at the park with both parties.

They worked closely with the leader of Gedling Borough Council, Councillor John Clarke and the council’s parks team on potential design ideas earlier in the year.

Multiple ideas were suggested to both groups by the students. They considered the requirements of different functional uses, such as low carbon design, relativity to the park’s heritage and history and, and budgetary constraints.

Vince Conway, Senior Lecturer for BSc (Hons) Architectural Technology, said:

“Working with local clients on a real scheme is an invaluable learning experience for the students.

“Many of the lecturing staff maintained a good relationship with the local authorities from our own time in practice and it is great that this relationship now brings opportunities for student to work on projects, some of those students will work with local authorities in the future.”

Work is expected to be completed in March 2017.

The first phase of the project will see the ground prepared before steel structures are installed in December.

Vince said being involved with a live project, especially when it’s for the benefit of the community, is very rewarding for both staff and students.

“The change in student dynamic is noticeable through their professionalism and engagement leading to commitment that cannot be replicated to the same extent in a theoretical university scheme,” he said.

“The developmental professional maturity when dealing with real clients and end users is to be commended and as their tutor, you can’t help but feel proud of their achievements.

“I am also a user of the park and the possibility of seeing and using something that you have had a hand in designing is very gratifying.”

Councillor Clarke said:

“We are absolutely delighted to see the works start on this fantastic new visitor centre at Gedling Country Park.

“This along with the new children’s play area will make this park one of the best places to visit in the country, never mind the county.

“The park has already been a success since we opened in March last year and this will make it one of the top destination parks around.”

The centre is being built by G F Tomlinson, a Midlands-based construction company. The final design was produced by Allan Joyce Architects.