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Major changes at Boldon House

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The next few months will see some major changes at our Boldon House building in Pity Me. 

This is a landmark development for the University which is transforming the former Northumbrian Water HQ to provide modern workspaces for colleagues working in Professional Services. 

At the end of June, we appointed the main contractor to develop the building. In early August we’re due to finalise the designs with architects GT3, while work on the building is scheduled to begin at the end of August. 

 Artists’ impression of Boldon House reception
Artists’ impression of Boldon House reception

As Julie Cairns, Project Manager in Estates and Facilities said, the activity we’ll see over the summer and autumn is the culmination of months of hard work by the project team.  

“We’ve worked closely with colleagues from across Professional Services to draw on their expertise and provide a building to meet the needs of all staff. 

"This has helped us create an exciting design which will provide attractive workspaces that will be functional and meet the operational needs of the professional teams who’ll be occupying the building.

The facilities have been specifically designed to ensure that everyone based at Boldon House can work in a hybrid manner

Welcome to the neighbourhood

The project team has developed comprehensive plans for the re-modelling of the internal spaces in Boldon House. 

After a number of workshop sessions with the Professional Services teams at the University, the architects have re-designed the three floors of the building. The floors will be split into neighbourhoods where each department will have a specific zone providing teams with individual workspaces and team spaces for collaboration. 

Julie said: “Over the past year, a lot of time has been spent working alongside colleagues in the individual departments to make sure we get the neighbourhoods right.” 

“It’s crucial that these spaces provide everything that colleagues need, and the meetings were invaluable to understand how the teams function and their specific operational needs to ensure each neighbourhood provides the correct allocation and type of workspaces. This includes space for collaborative working, meeting rooms, areas for quiet working, confidential workspaces and access to facilities to support hybrid working.”  

You can see the neighbourhoods where colleagues from the different PS teams will be based on the Boldon House intranet site.   

Julie continued: “We’ve also made sure that the scheme provides sufficient break-out areas, storage rooms and A/V equipment, together with general facilities that everyone can use such as tea points, changing rooms and of course, the all-important on-site café.” 

Attractive designs 

Over the past eighteen months, dozens of colleagues from across the University have been involved in working groups and meetings with the project team to help the designers produce the plans for Boldon House.  

Julie said: “The next few months will be an exciting time as we start work on the building and the designs will really begin to take shape.” 

Artists’ impression of Boldon House neighbourhood
Artists’ impression of Boldon House neighbourhood

While most of the work will be going on inside Boldon House, people will be able to see some construction work outside the building.  

This will include the installation of upgraded windows, solar panels and air-source heating systems alongside the remodelling of the external grounds, internal courtyard, and re-development of the car park.  

On the Boldon House intranet site, you can see animated flythroughs which give you a good view of a number of areas throughout the building, including the reception, café, office spaces and collaborative areas.  

Continuing engagement

As the development of the building gathers speed, the project team will continue to engage with members of staff in Professional Services departments. 

As well as staff information drop-in sessions and meetings with Heads of Departments and working groups, colleagues in HR-OD are working on sessions to help staff make the most of the opportunities that a building like Boldon House can offer. 

Lizzie Amies, Organisation Development Business Partner, explained: “Between now and our move-in date of March 2024, the project team will be working with colleagues across Professional Services to help everyone prepare for the move and to realise the opportunities it will bring, and to support them in making the transition.   

“We have a comprehensive plan of activities over the next few months as we’ll be delivering a range of meetings, workshops and other activities for PS managers and staff to prepare for the move. Expect more information shortly.” 

You can find more details about the project on the Boldon House intranet site



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