University of Bolton brings former sixth form buildings up to date
Based in the north-west of England, The University of Bolton is a local institution with international reach. The university traces its educational roots back to 1824 when it opened as one of the first mechanics institutes.
Granted university status in 2005, it now has a global student body of around 11,000 and was ranked a Top 40 UK University for teaching quality, according to the Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017.
The university acquired the old Bolton Sixth Form buildings and along with a complete refurbishment of existing equipment they put out to tender for the existing Smart all-in-one interactive whiteboards to be removed and replaced with touchscreen technology. CDEC won the tender with a submission which included BenQ interactive touchscreens along with Extron controllers and Goodmans sound bars.
The old sixth form building was acquired at the start of the 2015-16 academic year with plans to move to the building for the commencement of the 2016-17 academic year. With this in mind, the business case was made to replace the IT/AV facilities inherited from the college, which was approximately seven years old, and create a modern teaching environment, Queen’s Specialist Building.
As a new Dental Technology course was one of the first to move to the new building, Queen’s Specialist Building also required Dentistry labs with 4K capability as well as an open learning area with interactive capabilities. This was achieved through the combination of BenQ 65” screens in the open learning area and 79” 4K screens in the Dentistry labs. In addition, the university was able to use handheld devices to control the screens using BenQ Q-Cast software and apps.
The upgrade was designed to support the university and academic department goals of becoming a Teaching Intensive Research Informed (TIRI) university. The solution was chosen to reduce support and maintenance overheads, as well as to address student satisfaction feedback of improved classroom technology and presentation facilities.
The primary challenge to the project was a lack of time: from appointing CDEC to having the project signed off, there were only about six weeks before teaching commenced in the building. With effective joint planning, good liaison and communication between the two organisations the project was completed on time, and fit for purpose on the first day of teaching.