Start on site for Stephen George + Partners’ flagship Nexus Learning Centre

Work has started on the £8.4million 33,500 sq ft Nexus Learning Centre in South Shields. Designed by Stephen George + Partners, one of the UK’s leading architectural practices, this flagship bespoke training facility, for Passenger Transport Executive Nexus, will bring key skills and new employment opportunities into the region.

Explains Alistair Branch, Director at Stephen George + Partners.

“We’re looking forward to continuing our work with Nexus and contractor Galliford Try Infrastructure to realise the delivery of this unique training centre and light maintenance facility. Not only does this form part of the wider regeneration proposals for South Shields but it also provides a training centre to establish a local skills base within the region.”

Chris Scoffield, Managing Director of Galliford Try’s Rail and Aviation business, said:

“The design and preparatory phases of the project have gone well and, with the site now cleared, we’re looking forward to making a start on construction as part of a strong project team.”

Managing Director of Nexus, Tobyn Hughes, said:

“I’m delighted that work is now starting on the construction of our £8.4m Learning Centre in South Shields.”

“This facility will transform the quality of the training that we provide to the Nexus workforce and industry partners, ensuring we keep Metro part of everyday life for the 100,000 people who use the service every day. It will also be the place where our diverse workforce will go to develop themselves professionally, and to work on strategies to improve what we do and how we do it.”

“The site dovetails with the ongoing regeneration of South Shields town centre, which includes an entirely new Metro and bus interchange. Our new learning centre will complement this redevelopment and help to bring new opportunities to the area.”

The Learning Centre will provide training for more than 1,000 people working on the Metro, including contractors involved in the £350m modernisation of the urban rail system used by 40 million passengers a year. The Centre will contain a Driver Training, lecture and meeting rooms, offices, staff room, canteen and changing facilities, plus an enclosed light maintenance area including train inspection pits, a platform and mock station complete with lobby and barriers. An external 70 metre stretch of dual track for rail infrastructure training will be built to the west of the building, including track, track points, signalling and overhead line.

SGP developed a 33,500 sq ft single building option to meet the client’s budget whilst maintaining the facilities’ operational and training requirements. Architecturally the single building allows the development to be unified, with the training centre wrapping around the 80m long double-height space for the train maintenance. Vertically stacking the accommodation allowed the creation of a welcoming double height reception and break-out spaces to overlook the main entrance and kept classroom, meeting and engineering activities clearly split between floors.

Construction work is planned to be complete in late 2019.