STUDENTS at the University of Bradford are set to benefit from a multi-million-pound investment in their social and study areas, with several major refurbishments underway.

The two biggest investments are to Student Central - where students socialise and hold events - and the University's JBP Library.

In Student Central, level 02 is being transformed into a modern, welcoming space, with a new food and drinks offering, and an updated bar complete with a huge TV screen for watching sports.

There will also be a dance floor as well as a new games area, featuring pool tables, shuffleboard, interactive darts, and more.

The Student Central / BelowOne bar areaThe Student Central / BelowOne bar area (Image: Sycamore Square Group/Stephen George + Partners.)

The bar, known as BelowOne in a nod to its position in the basement, will serve mocktails as well as alcoholic drinks, while Brew & Co Kitchen, will offer a range of hot drinks, smoothies, and even bubble tea.

The £2 million project incorporates five separate areas, covering 1323m2.

The space, two floors below ground, will also boast new environmentally-friendly LED lighting, a new accessibility ramp, and a peaceful garden sanctuary.

The JB Priestley LibraryThe JB Priestley Library (Image: Sycamore Square Group/This Is Interiors)

The JB Priestley Library will benefit from a £1.6m re-fit to expand and transform the group study space.

The new area will include a variety of seating as well as bookable rooms. Technology to support a range of group learning will also be incorporated.

Both projects will be finished for the start of the new academic year in September.

The Student Central lower amp areaThe Student Central lower amp area (Image: Sycamore Square Group/Stephen George + Partners)

Steve Gilley, director of infrastructure at the university, said: “We have designed these areas to be as inclusive as possible, and hopefully they will be enjoyed and welcomed by all students.

“The higher education sector is currently experiencing a number of challenges, particularly with regards to funding.

"While the university is continuing with its mission to reduce cost and waste where possible, it is also vital that we continue to invest in projects which will be attractive to prospective students and improve the experience of those currently studying at Bradford.”

The Student Central garden hideaway areaThe Student Central garden hideaway area (Image: Sycamore Square Group/Stephen George + Partners)

Prospective students will be able to get a sneak peak of the work in progress at the Postgraduate Open Day on Saturday, July 13, and at the Clearing Open Day, on Saturday, August 17.

The designs for Student Central and the library are based on consultations with students.

Komal Iqbal, a second-year law student who runs the University Baking Society, said: “I’m very excited about the bubble tea bar and the fact we will have a lot of seating available. Also the garden area, I like the idea of nature being inside the building, and the games.

"It’s going to look really nice. I can already imagine it. The amount of social life and games you’re going to get here, it’s going to be great.”

Folarin Ojajuni, who is studying for an MA in Social Work, was involved in planning the library refurbishment and said: “We wanted a serene and comfortable ambience where you can share ideas with fellow students.”

The university is also currently making significant improvements to its computer technology and midwifery facilities, which will also be ready for the start of the new term in September.

The new £1.1m midwifery facility will be used for clinical skills, simulated scenarios, and both face-to-face and online teaching. It will also include break-out spaces for smaller group work and debriefing, to reinforce teaching away from the main space.

The university's Bradford-Renduchintala Centre for Space AI, which was founded through a £2 million donation from former student Dr Venkata 'Murthy' Renduchintala, will be getting new wall-mounted large screens for satellite observation, as well as new IT and furnishings in a £650,000 re-fit.

Computer Sciences will benefit from an investment of £600,000 to create four functional state-of-the-art computer labs in the University’s Horton D building, increasing capacity to allow for future growth, and providing students with the best learning environment possible.

Savas Konur, head of school for computer science, AI, and electronics, said: “The refurbishments of our computer science labs will create an exceptional and visually appealing learning environment, providing an outstanding workspace experience for students and staff.”

Places are available to study at the University of Bradford from September 2024 through clearing, which is now open.