CONSTRUCTION of the new building at the Arts Institute at Bournemouth is nearing completion ahead of its September deadline.

The building has reached a key milestone with the topping out ceremony taking place on the roof of the new development.

The new building is due to open for the new academic year. It will house the new BA (Hons) architecture and BA (Hons) graphic design courses.

It will also provide a 166-seat theatre with a high acoustic ceiling and house various business staff.

Work on the new building, designed by Lee/Fitzgerald Architects started in April 2006.

It follows the development of two other buildings designed by Lee/Fitzgerald on campus - the award-winning Enterprise Pavilion and Library.

Topping out was led by Cowlin Construction regional managing director Bill Badham, institute principal Professor Stuart Bartholomew and chair of the board of governors Nigel Beale.

Mr Badham said: "It has been an excellent team effort throughout and we look forward to handing over to Stuart and his team a building which we can all be justifiably proud."

Professor Bartholomew said: "This new building is the next step in the development of one of the UK's leading specialist institutions for arts, design and media.

"We are delighted to have worked so closely with Cowlin Construction in the creation of this new landmark facility for students and staff," he added.