A former University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) student from Preston has had the unusual distinction of returning to his former place of learning – to help re-build it.

Mark Hardisty, now a senior site manager with BAM Construction in Salford, has returned after 10 years to work on the first phase of University’s £200 million masterplan, the Engineering Innovation Centre (EIC).

Mark, 36 who was born in Preston but who now lives in Clitheroe with his wife and son, gained his construction management Bachelor of Science degree at UCLan while working on day release.

The 7000m2 EIC site faces out across Adelphi Quarter and is located on a former car park. The building, conceived by Manchester architects Simpson Haugh, is being constructed with over 700 tonnes of steel.

Mark says: “I used to study in the Harris building right opposite the site. I did my HND there first and then converted later to a full degree on day release.

“I’ve actually worked on three UCLan buildings. Two as a labourer which were completed during my time studying so this is the first since I left. My career has taken me to the Middle East and I worked on the Liverpool One scheme among several others.

“There is something meaningful about building something in a place you know well. This is going to be one of the tallest buildings in the immediate area and it’s a very striking design. As you come down Walker Street, it’s going to look really imposing. Because of its central location, the University is really the key to the evolution of the city.”

Simon Atkinson, project manager for BAM, said his team expects the steel frame to finish in February, and the project to pick up pace with several sub-contractors on site thereafter. Personnel on site will peak at around 100 people.

Several trainees have been involved in the scheme already, and over 30,000 hours have been worked so far.

David Smith, UCLan’s Director of Capital Projects, said: “The complex £30million scheme is progressing well, with the steel structure complete and the concrete flooring being constructed, we are expecting completion in early 2019.”