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!

New arrivals

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.

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These look comfortable!

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All wrapped up and safe

Improved accessibility in University Square

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.

  1. 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.
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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.

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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.

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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 greenheart@contacts.bham.ac.uk and we will get to work.

Open Doors 2018

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.

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Get a sneak peek behind the scenes on our construction sites

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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A tree-umph on campus

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.

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What a tree-tastic event!