Kier has started work on Jodrell Bank’s First Light Pavilion, after being appointed to the project by the University of Manchester. The project, which is based at Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, received funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The grass-covered dome shaped building will host a gallery, exhibition and education spaces, as well as a café and a 2,300ft² auditorium space which will be devoted to displaying immersive digital presentations and hosting a range of events.

Jodrell Bank Observatory is the world’s earliest radio astronomy observatory still in existence and was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2019This project will enable its award-winning Discovery Centre to provide visitors with the context for that new status and to share and celebrate the stories of its scientists and engineers, and the pioneering work that has, and continues to be, conducted there.

The project is due for completion in summer 2021.

Peter Commins managing director at Kier Regional Building North West, said: “This is a standout project for the region, and we are thrilled to be delivering it for the University of Manchester. This project is about connecting a wide range of people with the science and heritage of Jodrell Bank, providing opportunities for people through activities, involvement, learning and engagement. The new dedicated education spaces will open up an additional 6,000 school visits per year, reaching the next generation of school children.”

Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre Director, Professor Teresa Anderson has said “We’re thrilled to begin this ambitious new project which will allow us to open up the internationally significant heritage of Jodrell Bank. Through First Light, the Discovery Centre will create new opportunities to celebrate the pivotal role Jodrell Bank played in the emergence of the new science of radio astronomy, and we look forward to sharing the stories of its pioneering scientists, who continue to carry out ground-breaking research here today.”

Kier has substantial experience of delivering projects in the North West of England and last year, it was appointed to all three North West Construction Hub Frameworks to deliver a range of public sector projects for clients across the region.