My Week - September 2014 - building our future

Another academic year has begun and I’m delighted to say that we have several building projects completed, or very near completion, as we welcome all new and returning students to the campus.

Dennis Hopper
At times during the summer the construction works have been disruptive so I’d like to thank people for their patience and hope they agree that it’s been worth the wait. The area around Beech Grove Plaza, in particular, has been transformed and will provide an attractive new focal point at one the busiest thoroughfares on campus.

Construction of the Laidlaw Library is progressing well and we’re starting to get a proper sense of how the completed building will look and feel. Both the Library and Plaza incorporate prominent sculptures – by artists Simon Fujiwara and Keith Wilson respectively – adding to our already rich and diverse collection of artwork. Helped by the Contemporary Art Society, we’re currently finalising a new public art strategy for the University. Details will be announced later in the term but it will ensure that in future all our major capital projects consider opportunities for public art.

Of course, this summer also saw the approval of the University’s Strategic Plan – an ambitious, action-oriented plan that is aimed at moving Leeds further towards the top of the Russell Group. Achieving this ambition will require new investment and, of course, this includes new capital developments. As part of our new financial forecasts, Council has endorsed almost £500m investment in the academic estate, residential accommodation (the University has recently acquired 980 student bed spaces at Central Village, adjacent to the Leeds Beckett University city campus), facilities and equipment over the next five years, and a new Campus Masterplan is currently being developed to provide a strategic framework for this investment.

The Masterplan will incorporate a number of academic developments already being planned – such as the new Innovation and Enterprise Centre – or, indeed, where work has already started. For example, the refurbishment of the Worsley Building, the largest building on campus, has already begun and the £20m first phase will be completed for the School of Medicine in late 2016. Elsewhere, we have started planning the re-development of buildings on the Western Campus as part of a medium to long term programme to provide much needed growth space for the Business School. Major refurbishment programmes for the Institute of Transport Studies and Engineering are also well advanced in design.

Following completion of the Laidlaw Library in 2015, the Edward Boyle Library will be fully refurbished and reconfigured to provide a contemporary, world-class learning environment with group study areas, employability zone and café. Another development that will be of particular interest to our students, is the major refurbishment of Leeds University Union’s building. The new facilities and spaces will help consolidate LUU’s position as one of the best

Looking further ahead, the relocation of Computing – into space vacated by Fine Art as a consequence of its move to the old Geography building – will be combined with the relocation of Physics and Astronomy. This, together with the construction of a Bragg Centre for Materials and Imaging in the north-east quarter of the campus, will create a new Engineering and Physical Sciences Zone.

Construction of a new multi-storey car park will begin soon and, following its completion in late 2015, development of a new University Innovation and Enterprise Centre will begin in the south-east corner of campus, helping to drive innovation, significantly enhance our incubation capacity for new companies and enable better interaction with industry. Located at the point where the campus meets the city, this building will provide a high profile ‘gateway’ to stimulate partner engagement.

In addition to identifying potential new academic developments, the Masterplan will look at campus infrastructure, green spaces, campus gateways and teaching space provision. You can have your say on the Campus Masterplan by visiting The survey is open until the end of the month, so please do have a look and let us know your thoughts and ideas about how campus currently functions and how it could be different in the future.

Dennis Hopper,

Director of Facilities Management 

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