EIGHT months after work officially started on the new Rose Hill Community Centre, the building is ready to mark the milestone of reaching its full height.

The Oxford Mail was given exclusive access to the high-tech new centre ahead of the topping out ceremony, which will take place on Friday, June 19.

It will feature a fun day and also act as an event for Oxford’s Low Carbon Week.

Deputy Lord Mayor of Oxford Colin Cook will bolt a solar panel to the roof to mark the occasion, one of dozens that will cover the top of the building.

It is hoped the £4.76m centre, which will have a cafe and gym as well as providing a new home for the Rose Hill Junior Youth Club, will be open by Christmas.

It will also have a new social club, a ballroom, and offices for the estate’s advice centre.

Work began in November and has been on target since then.

Oxford City Council strategic community centres co-ordinator Mark Spriggs said: “We are looking at a December completion so the windows will start going in shortly. The building is certainly on the cutting edge. It is going to be our flagship community centre.

“We have great aspirations for it and it is the first we have put up in 25 years.

“The most recent prior to this was West Oxford Community Centre and this is about four or five times larger. It demonstrates the dedication of the city council to communities.”

The building’s roof will be covered in solar panels, which will be used to partly power it.

Mr Spriggs said it is hoped the panels, which have not yet been installed, will provide 49kw of energy a day from the day they become operational.

It is hoped this amount will then increase to 63kw a day – enough to power the current building – within a couple of months of the new centre being open.

He said: “We are looking at using new technology that is being trialled in Rose Hill that stores energy from solar panels in batteries.

“The building is very low energy and highly insulated. It is a really good place to have the low carbon event along with the fun day at the topping out ceremony.

“The council has a commitment to making things low carbon because it is a good thing in itself but also because it reduces costs for the taxpayer.

“This is because the building will be powered, in part, by renewable energy.”

The construction of the community centre in Ashhurst Way has been led by building company Beard. Contracts manager Brendan Rourke said work had gone to plan.

He said: “This building goes beyond most modern buildings. A lot have to have some form of renewable energy input to fulfil building regulations. This has much more than it needs to pass building regulations.

“The building is unusual because it has so many uses. We are currently trying to think how people can access the different bits of the building but not other certain areas.

“It will have door access control systems (such as swipe cards) and that sort of thing, as well as shutter systems.”

Because the building has a flat roof, there was another challenge posed to the team regarding the topping out ceremony, which normally sees a tile symbolically placed on the highest point of a building.

Mr Rourke said: “Because it is a flat roof, we were struggling to decide how we would demonstrate the roof reaching its highest point. Colin Cook will be coming and putting a final screw to the solar panel.”

The topping out ceremony takes place at 3.45pm on Friday, June 18, as part of the fun day which runs from 3.15pm to 5pm with face-painting, a tug-of-war, and balloon modelling.