The Duke of York held up the University of Huddersfield as a shining example of everything that is great about Britain.
He was in town as university chancellor for the opening of the £28m Oastler Building which he called “magnificent” and “iconic”.
After a tour of the facilities he told students and staff that it was rare for him to open a new building on the actual first day of its operation.
And he praised university staff and contractors for working so hard on the Oastler Building project.
“It is a skill to be able to bring together a team and build a building like this,” he said.
“That is what is really amazing about some things that we do in this country and in so many other areas. This is just one example of that – the brilliance of the university team to define the project in such clarity that works on day one.”
Vice-chancellor Professor Bob Cryan, who has overseen the expansion of the Queensgate campus for over a decade, said the “super design means that it will become an emblem for our university and maybe for the town of Huddersfield too.”
He added: “In fact the building, in its prominent location, is already a local icon. We have bestowed on Huddersfield a 21st century structure that can stand alongside the 19th century buildings that express the civic pride felt by our Victorian forebears.”
Prof Cryan said the £28m spent was an investment in students, the town and the region.
“This is because we were able to use local suppliers for most if not all of the key components and materials,” he added.
About 166 tonnes of Yorkstone came from Johnsons Wellfield Quarries at Crosland Moor while the glazing was supplied by Dual Seal Glass on Leeds Road.
Prof Cryan reserved special praise for the building’s designer, AHR.
“The design is brilliant, complex and innovative,” he said. “The outstanding design must be destined for an award if there’s any justice in the world.”
And he praised main contractor Morgan Sindall for delivering a fine building with minimal disruption to the campus and town.
Prof Cryan said the campus was already one of the finest in the country but more developments were on the way, including upgrading facilities at the Joseph Priestley Building.
Tim Hosker, assistant director of estates at the university, said: “Most of the Oastler Building is used by the university’s School of Music, Humanities and Media who have just moved in during the last few days from our Joseph Priestley Building which is also subject to redevelopment now that they have moved out.”
Mr Hosker said the aim of the Oastler project was to create a flagship building.
“The architect realised our vision to come up with something that is pretty spectacular.”