Aston University has an excellent reputation for its Post Graduate courses and, in order to enhance the facilities for students and lecturers, has recently completed a £20 million project to refurbish and extend the Nelson Building in the heart of the campus. This state of the art facility comprises a 163 bedroom hotel, 260 seat restaurant, bar, lounge, business support centre, reception area and fully equipped conference and meeting rooms, all built around an open courtyard setting. The building also houses Post Graduate student study areas and teaching staff offices.
An integral part of Aston University, the Management Development Centre offers facilities for students and the general public alike, with hotels rooms available for booking by anyone wishing to stay close to the centre of Birmingham, whether they are using the Conference Centre or not.
A state of the art building demands a state of the art cabling system and as such the University elected to specify a Brand-Rex Cat 6 UTP copper horizontal infrastructure with OM3 fibre in the backbone and linking the building to the rest of the University network. Electron were appointed by communications solutions and services provider Damovo as they had already re-cabled the rest of the University site to a very high standard.
The voice and data cabling infrastructure involved 2,100 outlets, wired to six different wiring centres, where they were terminated on SMARTPatch Panels, thus enabling the University to implement Intelligent Infrastructure Management (IIM) at any point in the future. Each of the bedrooms has three outlets and is provided with a Voice over IP (VOIP) phone and complimentary access to the internet via a wired connection. There are two self contained 100 seat lecture theatres called Pods, in which each seat has two power outlets and one data outlet. Wireless access points have been installed in the lounge and breakout areas and further wired points are available in each of the meeting rooms.
The nature of the facility has meant that services not normally associated with a University have had to be connected to the cabling infrastructure. These include a front of house system that is used for the booking of hotel rooms and meeting/conference facilities, EPOS machines in the restaurant and bar and a voice services module that provides voicemail and telephone billing by linking with the front of house system and the Cisco Call Manager.
Electron had to be very flexible in its working practices in order to fit in around the multiple other trades that were working on site over the 9 month period of the project. One of the first things that had to be done was to cable the bedrooms in the old part of the building so that staff could use these as temporary offices until the new facilities were completed. Often Electron were only given a few hours notice of a requirement to pull cables in to a new area before ceilings were put up or other trades moved in.
Commenting on the finished installation Project Manager Dennis Mottram stated ‘Yet again Electron have delivered a first class installation that will provide users of this excellent facility with unparalleled access to voice and data services. I am delighted with the quality and professionalism of their work.’
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