Artist impression of the new £22m building and how the site looks today.

Artist impression of the new £22m building and how the site looks today.

THESE are the first images of ambitious £22m plans to expand Bournemouth University.

A world-class, flagship complex is planned at the Talbot Campus and BU hopes it will attract top staff and students for years to come.

Now the public is being asked for its views on the state-of-the-art building. The centre would provide a new range of academic, research and social facilities for the university, including seminar rooms, lecture theatres and catering facilities.

The design is for a building with a glass-fronted exterior, a central atrium and open spaces offering a welcoming atmosphere. Local residents and businesses would also be encouraged to use the building’s facilities. Soft landscaping and green features will also form part of the plans when the design is finalised.

The proposed location for the new building is on one of the campus car parks, which currently holds 197 spaces. As part of its plans, BU is developing options to replace all of the car park spaces lost.

These options will be announced in due course and consulted on before a planning application is submitted.

Professor John Vinney, Vice-Chancellor of BU, said: “2013 has been one of our most successful years and we’re determined to keep on improving.

“Our aspiration is to become a centre of academic excellence in education, research and professional practice and we need world-class facilities to match those aspirations.

“This proposal, which will meet the needs of our current number of staff and students, would enable us to vacate some temporary buildings into a purpose-built state-of-the-art centre.”

This year BU moved up 14 places in The Sunday Times Good University Guide, becoming the first university to be “commended” by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education for the quality of student learning opportunities – the highest award possible.

Earlier this month a new report revealed BU is worth an annual £252m to the conurbation of Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch and £378m to the South West – more than £1m a day.

As part of BU’s plans to improve its facilities, construction began in the summer on a new £10.5m student centre, which will provide significant additional learning space.

Professor Vinney added: “We are very proud of our recent achievements and the significant contribution we make to the local economy.

“However, we cannot afford to stand still in an increasingly competitive higher education market and these new buildings will help us attract high-calibre staff and students for years to come.

“We want to engage with the local community on our plan for a new academic building, and we very much welcome their views.”

Newsletters and updates are being sent to local residents and other key stakeholders to attract interest and encourage people to express their view.

A public exhibition detailing the plans and the parking options will be held on Thursday, November 14 with a planning application due to be submitted in February 2014.