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.
That’s one big crane!
This week saw the arrival of new benches as part of phase 1 of the Green Heart. The benches have been installed on the patterned paving circles, nicknamed ‘hubs’, along the new pathways currently being laid; find out how you helped to pave the Green Heart here.
The benches have been made by a small manufacturer in Sheffield, Bramhall 1840 Ltd, to a bespoke design for the Green Heart. They also include integrated LED lighting underneath the seats to enhance visibility at night. The inclusion of increased seating areas and improved lighting were both suggestions which arose through the University’s consultations prior to the project’s launch.
For the meantime, the benches have been covered by blue wrappers to keep them safe. We are also gearing up for phase 2 of University Square’s transformation, which will begin later this month, as materials such as benches and stone begin to arrive onsite.
These look comfortable!
All wrapped up and safe
The first phase of Green Heart development in University Square is well underway, and will be completed in February. We will then landscape the area of University Square closest to Staff House. During this time old pathways have been changed or removed, and new pathways have been created. Thanks to your feedback, we have improved accessibility in University Square.
- We’ve added a new pathway that runs along the current hoardings, which means you don’t have to go all the way around to get from one side of University Square to the other.
Get from A to B quicker
2. We’ve added more vinyl pads across grass areas, which means you get less muddy and there’s less congestion in this area.
No more wading through the mud
3. We’ve added a new pathway across the cobbled entrance to University Square, making it easier for those with specific accessibility needs to travel in this area and gain access to the ramp.
No more cobbles
We can continue to make changes with your help. If you think accessibility could be improved further in specific area, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get to work.
Every year, major construction sites across the country offer the unique chance for the public to go behind the scenes and discover how these structures are changing our landscapes and communities. Open Doors 2018 takes place from Monday 19 – Saturday 24 March 2018 and one of the University’s key contractors, Willmott Dixon, will be opening three sites on campus to students, staff and the local community: the Green Heart, Park Grange Data Centre and the conversion of the old gymnasium.
On 22 and 23 March you have the opportunity to book onto a free tour where you will get to see the beginning of the Green Heart’s second phase of works, Park Grange Data Centre’s external works and engineering fit out and the erecting of the steel-frame and cladding of the old gymnasium. So whether you’re a budding engineer, live in the local area or just interested in finding out what’s going on across campus, make sure you join us.
Places are limited, so book your spot today. Registration ends on 23 February.
Get a sneak peek behind the scenes on our construction sites
With Christmas in the rear view mirror, and spring (somewhere) on the horizon, perhaps now is the time to consider changing how you travel to work? Lots of New Year’s resolutions revolve around getting fit and healthy, saving money or living more environmentally friendly. Cycling to work ticks all the boxes and the Universities Sustainable Travel Co-ordinator Peter Edwards is here to help you get started.
The Sustainable Travel team operate a staff bike loan scheme that enables you to borrow a hybrid bike for a minimum of 4 weeks complete with lights, a lock and even a helmet. We can even help you plan a route using quieter roads, off-road routes and shared use paths if you want to avoid busy roads. We have 7 bikes in total with a wide range of sizes suitable for men and women.
Join the team
In the last year more than 30 members of staff have loaned bikes and lots have gone on to buy their own bike via our salary sacrifice Cyclescheme.
‘Never before would I have considered cycling as a viable and enjoyable means of commuting to and from work’ Andrew (Business School)
‘I think the scheme is fantastic. I’ve gone from a really nervous cyclist to really loving it and have now bought my own bike to ride to work’ Hannah (DARO)
The University is well placed to cycle to with the canal (although closed from next week for improvements), shared use paths all along Bristol Road and not far from the scenic Rea Valley and Bournbrook routes. Cycling to work will help you live healthily, arrive refreshed and ready for work, live longer and save money (especially if you’ve got a free loan bike) so why not give it a try? You’ll even be able to park right outside your office! To find out more, get in touch with the team today.
As 2017 draws to a close, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to celebrate the huge progress that the Green Heart has made this year!
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their patience and support during this time of huge change on the University’s campus.
From July, we took the first steps to creating a stunning 12 acre parkland at the heart of our historic campus; hoping to restore a 100 year old vision, as well as provide facilities for the 21st Century. After our students completed their summer exams, work began to demolish the former library (which was completed in November) and soon the east side of University Square was cordoned off to begin landscaping. Aside from the beginning of the creation of the parkland, you have also helped shape your space by partaking in our paving poll, consultations and getting involved on social media! We have also been out and about meeting staff, students and local residents to show off our plans in 360 VR and creating a host of resources for everyone to use including the Green Heart animation.
The team will be back in 2018, when we can look forward to the completion of University Square!
We would like to introduce you to the team behind the scenes at Willmott Dixon making the Green Heart a reality. Willmott Dixon are one of the UK’s leading construction contractor specialists and are using their expertise to ensure that the creation of our new parkland goes smoothly. As well as making sure that progress on site continues as planned, the team have also joined University Green Heart colleagues at Open Days and other public events to answer all your questions. They are also coordinating some fantastic work experience schemes and school’s projects to inspire the next generation of constructors.
On 28 November, the Green Heart Project team held a ceremony to celebrate the first of 160 new trees arriving on campus. To ensure that the parkland is in keeping with the campus’ more established greenery, trees of different growth rates, from semi-mature to mature, were selected to be planted. Therefore, University Square now has a new selection of trees between 5-7 metres to compliment the scenery.
Aside from 160 new trees, and protecting 144 existing trees, the Green Heart will bring an array of wild flowers and lush grass areas to campus. These have been carefully selected to encourage local species, and we will be incorporating nesting sites to attract wildlife including bats, swifts and hedgehogs. Water features will also provide a relaxing audio backdrop, be a natural source of drainage management and further attract wildlife. All this means that the Green Heart will be a serene area for both wildlife and people.
What a tree-tastic event!
Last week the demolition of the former library came to a close. We would firstly like to thank everyone for their patience during this time. Now that the demolition is complete, landscaping can begin on the site behind the current hoardings. Towards the end of the month, we will start excavation of the Green Heart’s amphitheatre which will sit on the former North Car Park site.
Some of you have also been in contact to ask why part of the former library has not been demolished. We can reassure you that we have not forgotten a bit, the raised platform which remains at the centre of campus is in fact an electrical substation. The substation provides power to a number of buildings in the area and would have been incredibly expensive to relocate as part of the Green Heart project. Therefore, the Project team asked the landscape architects to incorporate it into their design for the new parkland. If you watch our Green Heart animation, from 20 seconds, you will see a raised platform on the right-hand side with the University Crests attached; this is part of the incorporated substation.
A new beginning…
We recently delivered the University’s community magazine to over 40,000 households in the local area. Did you get your copy of Community Buzz through the letterbox if you live nearby? If you didn’t, don’t worry, you can download your copy of Community Buzz Autumn 2017 now!
The magazine is teeming with the latest University news, events, and research and educational highlights. Make sure you save the date for the 2018 Art & Science Festival and why not book onto one of our exciting cultural tours. Also find out how our students are making a difference in the local community and transforming lives; it’s all in the magazine and much more. Our very own Green Heart project also features, discussing how we will restore a 100 year old vision by 2019.
Download your free copy today!