Image of Steve Nugent, Christopher Pratt and Ian White at the topping out ceremony.
Steve Nugent, Christopher Pratt and Ian White at the topping out ceremony.

Topping out ceremony marks major milestone for West Court development

Jesus College has celebrated a major milestone with a topping out ceremony for its new state-of-the-art conference facilities.

The Master of Jesus College, Professor Ian White, led the ceremony at the top of the new entrance building on Jesus Lane. Watched by all those involved in the project, Professor White laid the final stone on the roof parapet wall. He was then presented with a commemorative engraved bricklayer’s trowel by Cocksedge Building Contractors to mark the occasion. 

In 2014 Jesus College embarked on the West Court development by purchasing the Grade-II listed buildings belonging to its neighbours Wesley House. These have now been sensitively refurbished and reconfigured to provide additional facilities, with a landscaped court at the heart of the site. The College is known for its award-winning architecture, listed buildings and extensive grounds situated within the heart of Cambridge.

The facilities in West Court include a multi-functional lecture hall equipped with the latest communications technology, which can seat up to 190 delegates. There is also a dedicated events space, a café with an outside terrace area, a basement bar, and 30 hotel-standard bedrooms that will be available all year round. 

The impressive Webb Library can be used for a wide range of events from drinks receptions for 150 people to lectures for 75. Alongside this the Bawden Room can be used for smaller meetings and receptions. With a brand new kitchen installed close by, the oak panelled Dining Room can seat up to 60 guests for dinner. 

Professor White said: “We are delighted that the chance has arisen to restore the College site to its original boundaries and excited by the opportunity it brings to take the facilities we can offer to students, Fellows, alumni and the wider world to a new level of excellence.

“Our West Court Development has an outstanding selection of spaces and accommodation, suitable for a wide range of different uses. I would like to thank every person – both within the College and our external contractors – who has worked so hard to ensure we have such high quality facilities to complement our existing buildings.”

Alumnus Tom McGlynn (1998) from Niall McLaughlin Architects said: “With the successful handover of the listed Webb Building refurbishment, the new café, pavilion, basement bar and landscaping to the north of the West Court site, we are extremely excited to see this last phase of works along Jesus Lane nearing completion. The new accommodation not only provides state-of–the-art resources for the College, but also enjoys a prestigious frontage facing the city centre.” 

Julian Huppert, the Director of the new Intellectual Forum at Jesus College, said: “The West Court redevelopment is very impressive. It will be the new home for the Intellectual Forum and we look forward to welcoming people from around the University and the wider city, as well as across the country and overseas, to our wide range of events there. In addition, the cutting edge technology in the centre will allow us to run many more varied events, with people able to take part remotely.”

Estates Bursar of Jesus College, Christopher Pratt, added: “We are delighted by the opportunities created by the West Court Development. The new Lecture Hall with its state-of-the-art AV will be of particularly interest to conference and events delegates, as will the stunning events spaces and hotel-standard bedrooms available all year-round. Clients who have visited us over the last year and seen the new facilities taking shape are already keen to hold events here.”

Steve Nugent, Managing Director of Cocksedge Building Contractors, said: “It has been a pleasure working on this project with the College. We are immensely proud of West Court and all of the state of the art facilities and equipment it will provide for the College for many years to come. The café, pavilion and bar open up to wonderful vistas and look fantastic against the backdrop of the Grade II listed building. With the oak detailing and pleasing stone frontage it has undergone a truly beautiful transformation.”