A university is due to begin work on a new £17m engineering centre, complete with laboratories and a 3D lecture theatre.

The investment by Lancaster University in the new three-storey, 2700 square metre building is part of plans to expand its engineering offer.

It will be constructed next to the university's existing engineering building on its campus at Bailrigg.

The centre will be equipped with a new distillation column for chemical engineering and laboratories for bioengineering and hydrogen energy technology.

The new 3D lecture theatre will also allow lecturers to show students around complex virtual images in a 3D environment .

The university says work is due to commence this spring, with the aim of the centre being open in summer 2021.

There are also plans for mechanical and electronic teaching labs that can accommodate up to 70 students and new laboratories for computing design and electronic teaching.

It will also include flexible working space for guest researchers and development space to support start-ups and businesses.

The building has been designed by Manchester architects Hawkins/Brown.

As part of its wider investment in engineering, the university is also planning to take on more than 20 new professors and lecturers.

Professor Claudio Paoloni, head of engineering at Lancaster University, said: “The new building will be an outstanding first rate learning environment that will inspire our students to excellence.It provides an advanced learning experience, and will foster new cutting-edge research with state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment, further adding to, and enhancing, our world-class environment and facilities.”