Gallery: ARU topping out ceremony

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Celebrations on the rooftop for the Topping up ceremony of ARU Peterborough (Picture: Shariqua Ahmed)

The official topping out ceremony for ARU Peterborough, where they celebrated the building reaching its highest point was attended by the Mayor of the Combined Authority, Dr.Nik Johnson, Principal of ARU Professor Ross Renton, Cllr Lynn Ayres (cabinet member for education), Cllr Steve Allen (deputy leader of PCC) and other senior staff members of ARU and Bowmer and Kirkland – the construction company behind the university building.

The phase one of the £30m campus on Bishop’s Road is on the way to completion, with the handover scheduled in the last week of July.

Attendees including the local press were shown around the multi-storey campus building including the science lab, robotics and electronics lab, lecture halls, the rooftop terrace, the university cafe and the roof of the building. 

ARU Peterborough aims to address skills deficits in the city and surrounding region, in what is described as a higher education ‘cold spot’. It aims to have a transformative and regenerative effect on the city and its surroundings, driving up aspiration and improving social mobility and prosperity, resulting in fewer inequalities and greater health and wellbeing. 

The university is developing the curriculum in collaboration with local employers, to ensure that students are equipped with skills demanded in the economy. 

As well as this, the phase two research and development and incubator space will support start-up and growing tech businesses. This aims to create a homegrown business innovation ‘ecosystem’ which further drives up the demand for skills coming out of the university. 

Speaking at the event, Dr.Nik Johnson said: “I have felt an increasing level of excitement. 

"I felt the energy, positivity and the sense the real changes are happening in the centre of Peterborough. 

“There is a lot of talk about the  levelling up paper. But, I think as the mayor my aim is to address the inequality.

"My background is in healthcare and I won’t go away from it. As a provider of training, I have worked alongside ARU graduates over the years.  

“So, I want to see more of them, possibility with graduates in so many different specialties. All of those moving into high paid jobs, bringing in quality and ambition, addressing the inequalities this city has for so many years. 

“I am pleased to be here – but the real people who are going to deliver it are PCC and ARU. It’s all very exciting.” 

Councillor Lynne Ayres, cabinet member for children’s services, education, skills and university at Peterborough City Council called it “Monumental times and an important milestone for the Peterborough.” 

Principal of ARU Professor Ross Renton said: “This is since I arrived 12 months ago into an empty car park. I was a bit worried, I have to admit. I was worried about the university completing on time, would we have the funding for future phases of the university, would we get the community excited, and would we have the support of everyone? 

“But I had no reason to be worried. My excitement has grown every day, engaging with our partners across the settings and engaging with communities. 

“You can feel the excitement and potential this university has in the heart of the city. Today marks an end to Peterborough appearing in the list of cities without a university. But it’s a new beginning. This white building is not enough. We need a whole campus – thriving in the heart of the city, to bring high skilled jobs to the city. Our aspirations for Peterborough are those of the people across the region. We need to have a university recognised not just in the UK, but across the world and I see a potential here. I want to thank all the teams involved here. 

“We hope to take charge of the building on July 25. I am looking forward to many more topping out ceremonies in the years to come.”