The Building a Great University update from the February 2018 Leadership Bulletin
Building a Great University – Richard Calvert
Over the next few days and weeks, we will be sharing our campus masterplan with staff. I’m taking the chance in this edition of the bulletin to focus on that.
Our buildings and facilities matter to all of us, whether we are students, staff, or visitors to the University. We’ve got some great facilities already, but we also know that our estate is under pressure, and that we need to improve quality and flexibility in many areas.
The new campus masterplan starts to paint a picture of our future estate, setting out how we will provide a consistent and high quality student, staff and visitor experience, and the principles which should underpin this. It also enables us to look not only at how we can support the new opportunities for business growth, but also how we can address current pressures, challenges, and constraints.
The masterplan has been developed to ensure our buildings, facilities and spaces support our ambition to be the world’s leading applied university – providing flexibility and variety to the different teaching, learning, researching and working needs now and for the future.
So what does the plan involve? In the long term, the masterplan offers a vision of consolidating on a single city centre campus – though not before the late 2030s – and this is something that we will keep under review. However, that’s a long-term vision, and for most of us we’ll be much more focussed on what happens over the next five years or so.
To deliver the plan, we will need to create new buildings, undertake improvement works to existing buildings, demolish some others and create new public realm at the new Campus Heart which will cross Howard Street. We will also need to continue to maintain and manage the condition of our current buildings – not least at Collegiate where we know we face particular pressures – and proposals for this have been included in the long term plans.
The plans are ambitious and we cannot do everything at once, so the proposals are broken down into key phases.
The key proposals for the first phase of works – over the next five years – include the development of a new Business School on the site of the current Science Park buildings, the development of a new Social Sciences building on the site of the Science Park car park, and the demolition of Surrey and Howard buildings to create space for the next phase of development.
The creation of a new Social Sciences building will enable PSP to relocate from Collegiate to City, enabling Heart of the Campus to be devoted to Health and Wellbeing.
For more information, visit the new Estates website which is available here: Future Spaces website
You can subscribe to the site for notifications and updates and visit the new interactive map of our on-going and active projects.
Development planning is currently underway for the first phase, which includes looking at options for alternative accommodation for the people currently located in the Science Park and working with SBS and D&S to understand requirements for the new developments.
Internal approval of the first phase of works is expected in March 2018.
Alongside this, we know that our estate cannot stand still over the next five years whilst we focus on the new developments, and we will continue to work with Faculties and Professional Services to review annual rounds of minor works needed to address priority condition and urgent new business needs.
We do however need to ensure we are focussed on our priorities, and as part of this we need to look differently at how we manage the space we currently have to ensure we are using it as efficiently as possible, and that we are not spending money on works that only fix short term problems.
A new Space Management Group will provide a cross-university forum for identifying where space could be better used and looking at how quick changes in usage can enable new opportunities to be implemented at minimal cost. This should enable us to address emerging pressures more quickly and gain a better understanding of the needs and uses of space across our Estate.
The vision and principles give us a clear approach to investment in our estate, and will shape our planning and the choices we need to make.
I hope you will be excited by the vision and the opportunities it brings. While we will all need to show some patience and understanding along the way, there’s a real prize in building an estate which is truly fit for the future, and which matches our ambitions as a university. I look forward to hearing your feedback.
Aside from the Masterplan, this is also a critical period for the PSOM work; you can attend one of several open staff briefings on the future shape and direction of professional services, which are taking place from 27 February – 2 March.
I’ll update on other work on the Building a Great University agenda in the next bulletin.