Moulton College

Stepnell creating new Food Innovation Centre at Moulton College

Stepnell has been awarded a £2.2 million construction contract to build Moulton College’s hi-tech new Food and Drink Innovation Centre in Moulton, Northamptonshire.

Stepnell will start work this October on the single-storey, 850 sq m building at the College’s Pitsford Centre campus. The finished Centre will provide purpose-built, leading-edge teaching facilities for students as well as specialist testing and product development resources for local food and drink manufacturers. Lyall, Bills and Young are the architects for the client team while consultants Mott MacDonald are managing the project.

The new building will feature food technology teaching rooms fitted with the most up-to-date technology and equipment; a preparation kitchen and sensory room for product testing; a concept development kitchen; a bakery and confectionery laboratory and a micro-brewery. In addition, an employers’ lounge area will enable industry partners to network and meet with students. 

Set to open in summer 2018, the Innovation Centre will enable students to work towards higher and degree apprenticeships and degrees in Food Science and Technology, helping create the skilled workforce needed by the food and drink manufacturing industry which plays a major part in the local economy. Northamptonshire is home to more than twice the national average number of food and drink producers. The Centre’s testing and development facilities will also provide an important resource for Northamptonshire and East Midlands’ many food companies, allowing them to test new products locally.

Created to nestle into the landscape, the Innovation Centre building will have a steel frame structure with the roof and upper parts of the external walls finished in powder coated metal cladding. The lower parts of the building will include large areas of curtain-walled glass, providing views into and from the building. Designed for high energy efficiency, the Innovation Centre will incorporate LED lighting, natural ventilation and electricity-generating photovoltaic panels.

As part of its own commitment to helping develop the construction industry’s new generation of workers, Stepnell will provide construction students at Moulton College with the chance to gain work experience on site through week-long supervised placements during the construction programme. The company will also arrange site visits for groups of students and give presentations about the project to students.

Stepnell construction director Bill Haynes says: “We’re proud to be involved in this project which will not only create a fantastic learning environment for students and teaching staff but also make a major contribution to the local economy. Our team has a proven track record of creating high-quality, exciting modern educational buildings and we’re thrilled to be drawing on that expertise to deliver this impressive facility.” The Stepnell team has worked extensively in educational settings and other types of ‘live’ environment, with the focus always on operating with the utmost consideration, combined with careful planning, to ensure that any disruption caused by the construction work is kept to a minimum.

Artist’s impression (main entrance) showing Moulton College’s new Food and Drink Innovation Centre. Images courtesy of Lyall, Bills and Young Architects.