University Square reopened

Since August 2017, University Square has been partially closed for redevelopment as part of the Green Heart project. First the east side, and then the west side. This week, we reopened the entire Square for staff, students and the local community to enjoy.

The redeveloped Square includes new lighting and benches, as well as wider, flood-proof pathways suitable for pedestrians and cyclists. We hope the new system of pathways will also ease congestion in this popular space on campus. To make the area environmentally friendly for people and wildlife, we’ve planted 13 new trees in the Square, to accompany the existing 38, which include Oaks, Limes, Redwoods and a Tulip Tree. The Square also includes the University’s first rain gardens and a variety of plants and grasses.

For a little while the Square will look a bit empty, but please bear with us. Grass reseeding is now underway, as well as additional planting, and we hope with good weather, this will flourish very soon… just in time for summer! Work will now continue on the former library and North Car Park site with the aim to open the entire parkland in late 2018 – early 2019.

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A new view on campus

Meet the Green Heart team

Work on the Green Heart is progressing fast. University Square is on track to fully reopen in June 2018 and the majority of works across the entire 12 acres will be completed and open in November 2018! We’ll be adding the final touches to the parkland in the first few months of 2019.

With work progressing so rapidly, there will appear to be more change on campus than ever. There will also be lots of interesting engineering and architectural work taking place, both beneath, and overground. As a result, you and your colleagues at the University may have some questions for the Green Heart team. Although you can contact us on greenheart@contacts.bham.ac.uk and Twitter, why not come and meet us face-to-face?

We’ve been touring the University with our key contractors, Willmott Dixon, delivering presentations and answering questions. As well as our termly Open Forums, if you would like us to visit your team and deliver a bespoke presentation, email us on greenheart@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

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Visiting the External Relations team

Reducing disruption during the exam period

Exams are fast approaching and we are committed to ensuring that disruption is minimised between now and the beginning of June. Working with Willmott Dixon, we have implemented a series of actions that should reduce disruption as much as possible.

  1. We deliberately programmed the noisier and more disruptive work to be completed before the start of the Summer Term (e.g. the bridge). Now that term has started, quieter works are now taking place.
  2. We have relocated noisier activities, such as slab cutting and concrete mixing, away from the centre of campus and key exam spaces. For noisier work that has to take place in the Green Heart, we are installing acoustic booths around that work to reduce impact.
  3. We will be working at all times to keep things as quiet as possible, but we are also focusing specifically on exam times themselves. Using the exam timetable, we are ensuring that there is particular care taken to keep disruption minimal while each exam is taking place.
  4. We are also installing sound monitoring stations around the perimeter of the Green Heart site. This will warn the team if the noise reaches certain levels, and a protocol is in place to reduce noise straight away if needed.

We’re continuing to work with the exams office to respond quickly and effectively to any issues raised by students or staff during the coming weeks. If you have any questions or concerns about the Green Heart during this time, please contact us on greenheart@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

Finally, from everyone in the Green Heart team, we’d like to wish our students the very best of luck in their exams.

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Good luck to all our students from the Green Heart team

Second phase of Green Heart begins

The transformation of the first phase of University Square is now complete. Our onsite teams continued to work through the cold, snowy condition over the last week to ensure that work remained on schedule. The redeveloped space, on the east side of University Square, has had new lighting, benches and pathways installed, as well as the first of 160 new trees across the Green Heart.

Now, until June, the second phase of University Square will be transformed. Temporary pathways and ramps are now installed where appropriate and disabled access has been maintained. These new routes are highlighted in red on the map below. Areas marked in green will be under construction and inaccessible to the public. The hoardings will be removed in June and University Square will be fully accessible once more.

Our commitment to staff and students is to ensure we provide timely and accurate information about what changes are to come, and what alternative routes are best to take around campus whilst construction is taking place; including disabled access.  This will be done in a variety of ways, including signage on campus, Twitterblog posts and the Intranet; all will be regularly updated.

If you have any questions about the changes, please email the Green Heart team at greenheart@contacts.bham.ac.uk and we will be happy to help.

PF2770 Green Heart - University Square Phase 2 - from 19 February 2018 v...

Find your new route

Green Heart Open Forums

This year, progress surrounding the Green Heart will rapidly advance with the completion of University Square, and work on the former library site taking shape. We are hosting Open Forums throughout 2018 to give staff and students the opportunity to find out more.

Hosted across the Edgbaston campus, the sessions will give you the opportunity to discover more about the project’s development from chief architects, Churchman Landscape Architects, key contractors, Willmott Dixon and the University’s project team. Each Forum will also conclude with Q&As from the audience, giving you the chance to ask the questions most important to you. The first Forum will be held on:

  • Friday 9 March
  • Arts Building Lecture Room 6 (R16)
  • 14:00 – 15:00
  • Refreshments provided

Keep an eye on our webpage for all up and coming Open Forums.

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What do you want to know about your new parkland?

Second phase of University Square transformation to begin

The transformation of the first phase of University Square is now drawing to a close, and will be completed by mid-February (weather dependent). Since August 2017, the redeveloped space has had new lighting, benches and pathways installed, as well as the first of 160 new trees across the Green Heart.

In the coming weeks, the section of University Square closest to Staff House will be gradually cordoned off and temporary hoardings will be installed by mid-February (weather dependent). Temporary pathways and ramps will be installed where appropriate and disabled access will be maintained. These new routes are highlighted in red on the map below. Areas marked in green will be under construction and inaccessible to the public. The hoardings will be removed in June and University Square will be fully accessible once more.

Our commitment to staff and students is to ensure we provide timely and accurate information about what changes are to come, and what alternative routes are best to take around campus whilst construction is taking place; including disabled access.  This will be done in a variety of ways, including signage on campus, Twitterblog posts and the Intranet; all will be regularly updated.

If you have any questions about the changes, please email the Green Heart team at greenheart@contacts.bham.ac.uk and we will be happy to help.

PF2770 Green Heart - University Square Phase 2 - from 19 February 2018 v...

Get to know your new routes now

Green Heart progress steps up a gear

Progress on the Green Heart is about to step up a gear over the next 2 weeks, so we thought we’d give you an update, so you are clued up on what is to come.

The Green Heart team from Willmott Dixon are hurtling towards the completion of phase 1 of University Square. The paving is being completed, new benches are in position, timber lamp columns are going in and topsoil has now been placed ready before the start of phase 2 mid-February.

Most excitedly, a delegation from the site team and designers are heading over to Ireland for a factory visit to check on the quality and progress of the pre-cast bridge which will sit in the parkland. Meanwhile, preparation for the bridge’s arrival continue; we are currently reinforcing and waterproofing the services ‘subway’ that forms the foundations for the bridge and café in front of Muirhead Tower. Watch our animation to see where the bridge will be placed. Finally, at the north of the site, the removal of surplus soil to form the amphitheatre continues.

Elsewhere on campus, the skyline has a new addition, a huge tower crane behind the Old Gym. It was put up last weekend, and when the rigging is complete, will be ready for the next stage of the project extending the upper floors over the sports hall roof.

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That’s one big crane!