Refurbishment and accessibility project: nearing completion!
We are excited to confirm that our accessibility building project is on track and that Phase Two is almost complete.
This time last year we were embarking on this major building project, at the heart of which was a desire to make our library and key areas of the site accessible to everyone, both the community here at Ridley and students and staff within the wider network of the Cambridge Theological Federation to which we belong.
For many years we have longed for all our students to be able to access both the curriculum and the communal life of Ridley on equal terms. However, our listed, Victorian buildings were designed with stepped access to all of its spaces, whether teaching, administrative, social or residential. The greatest difficulty to those with mobility issues was presented by the library, which was on the second floor, with no reasonable option for providing lift access, and a lack of adequate circulation space once up there.
The current project aims to address this lack of accessibility in a holistic manner, and comprises three main elements:
- the move of the library from the difficult-to-access second floor to a new space, created by lowering the floor of the basement of ‘A’ Staircase; this new space will be accessed via external steps and a platform lift;
- the conversion of ‘A’ Staircase back into residential accommodation, including double rooms and small apartments; this involves bringing the under-used tower rooms back into full use with much improved fire escape routes;
- access ramps to four of the main entrances, including to the dining hall, common room, lecture hall and ground floor seminar rooms.
We are grateful to Archangel Architects, who have risen to the challenge to alter our Victorian buildings to enable them to address current needs, while preserving and enhancing their distinctive character.
We are delighted to say that the access ramps and conversion of 'A' staircase are now finished, and the new basement library will be completed and the space handed back to us in time for Easter.
Principal Michael Volland said "I want to pay tribute to Cocksedge Building Contractors and to Anna Russell our Head of Facilities and Estates for the fantastic work they have done in delivering the project on time and on budget, despite the challenge of the pandemic."
When the library is complete and fully furnished, we will share more photos, so do keep touch with news updates here on the website and on our social media. In the meantime, we are pleased to offer some sneak previews of the transformation!