Arts tower sees light after £36m revamp

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THE skyline is being lit up this week to mark the formal reopening of the University of Sheffield’s arts tower after a three-year £36m refurbishment.

The top four floors of the 20 storey building are being bathed in colour each night - almost 46 years after it was officially opened by the Queen Mother.

Students and staff moved out for the revamp, which is designed to extend the life of the grade II* listed building by at least 30 years.

A reopening ceremony was held on Monday attended by former university students and staff, including the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Coun Sylvia Dunkley.

The arts tower was Sheffield’s tallest building until the 32-storey St Paul’s Tower of apartments in the city centre. It was designed as part of a competition in 1959. One of its features is a paternoster lift, which is continuously on the move, with passengers having to jump in and out.

Keith Lilley, director of estates and facilities management, said: “The arts tower is a hugely significant building but it required major investment to make it fit for today’s requirements. We’re delighted with the work that has been done to bring it up to date whist preserving its unique characteristics.” Lower levels provide teaching accommodation and the top ten floors are occupied by the Department of Landscape and School of Architecture.

The work was the largest single investment in a £50m upgrade of the university’s estate.