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.

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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?

What a year!

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!

Meet the Green Heart team…

Hi everyone!

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.

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Developing opportunities for our students

University of Birmingham Geography Student Eva Corley is interested in a career in Landscape Architecture, so when she got in contact with the Green Heart team, we put her in touch with our site teams.

Eva has been working with Chris Churchman from Churchman Landscape Architects for the last month, learning the tricks of the trade and developing her skills for a successful future career. She will continue her experience throughout her studies, having the opportunity to under tasks across a range of mini-projects and teams.

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Eva and Chris immersed in landscape drawing

Chris will also set Eva up on her own project, redesigning one of the University’s lodge gardens! We asked Eva how she was getting on:

My experience so far working with the Green Heart team has been a fascinating insight into all the work going on behind the construction site. I have experienced the complicated process of undergoing such a large and prestigious landscaping project, including working with a landscape architect which will undoubtedly help me to pursue my career aspirations. Everyone has been very friendly and supportive which has given me confidence and motivation to keep working towards my goals. 

Are you a UoB student interested in work experience with the Green Heart? Please email the team at greenheart@contacts.bham.ac.uk and tell us what area of work you are interested in, and we will see how we support you in your career development.

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Learning from the best

Inspiring the next generation

On 30 September, Willmott Dixon’s Green Heart Project Team stepped outside their normal roles to host the first site visit for Year 8 pupils from University of Birmingham School.

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First site visit

The visit of 30 pupils is part of an enrichment programme developed by the Team as a Corporate Partner to UoB School. The programme is part of their wider community engagement delivered as the University of Birmingham’s Construction Partner supporting the work done by the University’s Team promoting the project.

The curriculum enrichment programme developed with the School uses the Green Heart as a demonstration project to introduce pupils to construction and the wide range of careers in the industry.

The programme of 5 weekly sessions will ultimately see 120 pupils introduced to the Green Heart Project, the Team and visiting the live site.

Members of the Willmott Dixon Team are taking the pupils through their roles and, using the animations and BIM, showcasing some of the less well known career opportunities offered by the construction industry.

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Finding out about the Green Heart

The Green Heart Bridge has provided a great focus for project activities. Groups have designed; built and costed a bridge of their own and in the last week will come together as one team to build a full size bridge provided by the Institute of Civil Engineers.

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Could you build and cost a bridge?

Meet the Green Heart team…

Hi everyone!

I’m Sally Xerri-Brooks, and I’m the Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Manager for major capital projects on campus. The Green Heart is one of the most significant areas I work on, so I spend a lot of time thinking about it and supporting its development. I do this by engaging with staff and students, as well as the local community. I work closely with the Estates department and contractors carrying out the all-important work to make the Green Heart a reality and I help make sure people know what is happening at each point in the project.

Every day I attend a range of meetings with key people across the University and across the city. I also get to go on site and see crucial bits of landscaping and building work as it happens, which I really enjoy. I make sure we have pictures and progress reports that I can share with everyone who is affected by the work.

I cannot wait for the Green Heart to be completed. One of the things I am really looking forward to is seeing the water features when they are in place. The consultation with staff and students told us that there was a real desire to get moving water onto campus to create flow and relaxation on campus. Ultimately, I’m looking forward to seeing the space used and people gaining holistic benefit from it. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows.”

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