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Screenshot of the Esther Simpson time-lapse

The Esther Simpson Building: progress so far

Since the last project update in June there has been major progress at The Esther Simpson Building project on Cloberry Street.

Recent update from BAM Construction:

    • We have completed forming the basement structure and poured all the higher slabs.  We have only the remaining ground floor slab to install on site under the lecture theatre.
    • Now the Upper Floors have been cast we are able to start installing the main roof for the new building.  Materials will be brought in a lifted up using the site crane to allow the works to progress.
    • We have had built 203 pre-cast panels with windows for the envelope of the building.  Some of these weigh up to 8 tonnes and is the reason we have such a large crane on site.  They will be hoisted into position and bolted to the side of the building.
    • Additional Cabins – we will be installing a new cabin complex to deal with Covid restriction in the Meadows area on the 26th August. Storm Jameson Plantroom – we have now commenced works in the plant room required to feed the new building.

Maurice Keyworth refurbishment project

Virtual Open Day

The University of Leeds will be hosting its first virtual open day over two weeks from 29 June.

The open day is a great way for prospective students to get a sense of our beautiful campus and see the fantastic learning and teaching spaces we have. Estates and Facilities have always supported the running of the open days by ensuring the campus is looking its absolute best and that all buildings are open ready for visitors. However, since the event is now a virtual open day we thought we could help showcase our incredible study spaces.

Refurbished spaces

The Design Office create inspiring and engaging study space for students to work in a variety of different ways. The spaces are divided into zones using furniture solutions that encourage collaborative group work as well as quiet areas for individual study and contemplation.

We’ve recently completed a number of refurbishment projects including:

 

New building projects

As well as refurbishing current spaces we also have a number of on-going and future projects that will transform the student experience at the University of Leeds.

Sir William Henry Bragg Building

Set to open its doors to students in 2021, the new building represents a significant investment by the University in a new integrated campus for Engineering and Physical Sciences. The facility will include first-class laboratory and specialised teaching spaces, enabling cutting-edge research, and outstanding student experience, whilst enhancing the University’s research power and strengthening collaboration with industry.

Watch a fly-through of the Sir William Henry Bragg Building

The Esther Simpson Building

Phase three of a multi-million-pound project to develop new Leeds University Business School and School of Law buildings. It will be a new central teaching space for all to use and will provide technology-rich, flexible teaching spaces, lecture theatres, and trading rooms, further advancing the delivery of world-class teaching solutions.

Watch a fly-through of the Esther Simpson Building

 

 

Brownlee Centre

A trial to use nature to reduce flood risk launches at Leeds Brownlee Triathlon Centre

A trial to use nature to reduce flood risk gets on its marks at Leeds Brownlee Triathlon Centre

A trial is being launched by the Environment Agency and the University of Leeds at the Brownlee Triathlon Centre to look at how nature can be used to help reduce flood risk.

This will be the first urban pilot site set up as part of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme’s natural flood management (NFM) project.

It is being launched at the centre, owned by the University of Leeds, to inspire students and the Leeds community to test how natural solutions such as creating wetlands can be used to help reduce the risk of flooding along the River Aire and in Leeds.

The site will be used to showcase many innovative ways to deliver NFM which will be used for academic research and help to develop practical ways to monitor different techniques and gather evidence on their success.

Five pilot sites have been set up as part of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme using techniques such as woodland creation, wetland scrapes and leaky barriers.

Holly Radcliffe Leeds NFM project manager from the Environment Agency, said:

“We are very grateful to the University of Leeds for working with us to develop a pilot site at the Brownlee Triathlon Centre to trial and test natural flood management.

“The Triathlon Centre is a real asset for students and the local community, and are excited to work further with them to develop suitable designs for the site.  “We hope that visitors will also be able to learn about how effective NFM techniques can be.

“As the country faces a national and global climate emergency, restoring our natural environment is an important component to help reach net zero emissions in the future.

“Natural Flood Management offers potential for climate mitigation, for example, creating wetlands, restoring our uplands and planting trees can help to capture tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere.

James Wright, from grounds and gardens team at The University of Leeds, said:

“We are delighted to be working with the Environment Agency on a natural flood management project at the Brownlee Centre.

“This is a great opportunity to showcase the huge benefits of working with natural process to Leeds Community and academic partners across the university.”

Brownlee Centre with the bridge across the track

The site earmarked for the project is at Bodington Playing Fields to the north east of Leeds city centre. The Brownlee Triathalon site earmarked for the project is to the north east of Leeds city centre.

Proposals for the site currently include:-

  • Woodland creation – planting almost 4,000 trees and hedges at various locations across the site
  • Measures to improve the management of the flow of surface water including grass covered earth bund -embankments which act as flood barriers to store water and pocket wetland – to be formed from series of wetland scrapes (shallow ponds) to control storm-water
  • An interactive information board to educate visitors about the benefits of each type of NFM and monitoring taking place on the site
  • A teaching area for groups, for example a two-tier grass covered amphitheatre, formed as an earth bund, an NFM measure and benches made from wood from various tree species on site
  • Demonstration areas featuring how to build your own leaky dam, the life-cycle of a tree and a sand pit where you can re-meander a straightened water channel
  • A discovery walk featuring sculptures, nature base art, activities, wildlife spotting, edible hedges and a sensory trail
  • Creation of a virtual tour of the site using 360 degree photographs

This pilot site will be part of the flagship Natural Flood Management (NFM) programme which forms part of the second phase of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme alongside traditional engineering. The development of the scheme is being led by Leeds City Council, working alongside the Environment Agency. This phase got underway this year and aims to invest £112.1 million in flood prevention measures for areas upstream of Leeds city centre, to better protect 1,048 homes and 474 businesses.

The NFM element is transformational in scale working with nature to reduce the risk of flooding across the catchment from the source of the River Aire, at Malham, through to Leeds City Centre. The programme will not only reduce flow of water from upstream so the landscape can hold more water in times of flood but also restore and create new habitat, increase biodiversity resilience and improve water quality. As well as tree and hedge planting, it includes re-channelling rivers to their natural courses, soil aeration, wetland creation and moorland restoration all of which have lots of benefits for people and wildlife. This will contribute to delivering the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and realising the vision of the Northern Forest in the Aire catchment.

For more information about the LeedsFAS visit www.leeds.gov.uk/fas

 

Photograph of the green space behind Leeds University Union

Grounds and Gardens – An essential service

While many of us continue to work from home there remains a core of essential workers who are maintaining campus for when we return, including the Grounds and Gardens team.

Campus gardeners

The campus based team have been busy ensuring the external estate does not become overgrown and unmanaged during lockdown.  The work has included mowing the lawns, weed control, watering of the new planting that was undertaken by the team prior to lockdown.

Photograph of the flower beds outside Baines Wing

Moving forward the Grounds and Gardens team will shortly be removing the annual bedding, unfortunately due to supply issues we will not be able to plant up the Baines Wing this summer, but the team have already placed the order for autumn delivery with Leeds City Councils Nursery at the Arium.

Sports Park Weetwood

The team at Weetwood have completed the essential annual pitch renovation programme.  In normal circumstances this work usually commences in early April with the final pitch usually renovated in late June.  This year the team have successfully procured grass seed that is 100% UK grown from farms in Hampshire & Suffolk.  The team have been able to make the most of the natural rainfall available and good growing conditions.

Sports Park Weetwood pitch

Handy gang

The Estates handy gang team have been busy since lockdown providing support to the NHS. This has included the delivery of beds and furniture items to LGI and St James University Hospital from a storage facility on campus.

The team worked successfully with colleagues in Health & Safety, Faculty of Medicine and Health, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Leeds Institute for Cardiovascular And Metabolic Medicine to ensure the safe delivery of a Cat 2 hood from the Light Building to the Old Medical School to facilitate Covid-19 research.

During all times staff have been following social distancing guidelines where work has involved staff members working together.

A big thank you goes to the team for all their hard work during this uncertain time.

Cloth Hall Court

We’ve extended our portfolio

The University has extended it’s portfolio by acquiring a new city centre conference and meeting venue, Cloth Hall Court.

Cloth Hall Court has a very well established reputation as one of the best conference and meeting venues in Leeds. Offering a range of spaces including an impressive reception, multiple seminar rooms and break out areas, and ideally located in the heart of Leeds city centre opposite the train station, Cloth Hall Court will enable the University’s MEETin LEEDS team to provide an entirely new platform for meeting and conference organisers.

Breakout space in Cloth Hall Court

Dennis Hopper, Director of Campus Development, commented: “The University of Leeds’ conference team pride themselves on high levels of customer service, putting customers at the heart of what they do, and Cloth Hall Court will complement our existing venue portfolio as well as helping to forge new links between the University, the City and our business partners. We are looking forward to working with existing and new customers.”

 

Great Hall

Missing campus?

If you’re missing campus as much as we are, check out the galleries below.

Thank you to the Director of Estates, Steve Gilley, who has captured these beautiful shots of campus during the University shutdown. The majority of students and staff may not be there but campus is still full of life.

Campus wildlife

Campus in bloom

Iconic buildings

Brotherton West

Spotlight: The Design Office

Delivering spaces across campus that support the University strategy

We’ve pulled together a gallery of some of our favourite shots from the Estates Design Office’s recent projects including the refurbishment of study spaces in the Maurice Keyworth building, The Language Centre building project, the refurbishment of the School of Language teaching spaces at Lyddon Terrace and the refurbishment of Brotherton West.

The Design Office is not only responsible for refurbishing existing teaching space but also new buildings on campus such as Nexus. Nexus is a high profile gateway to research and innovation at the University and a UK-leading environment for collaboration and partnership.

A photograph of Esther Simpson

The Esther Simpson Building

The latest phase of the LUBS and School of Law Expansion project will pay tribute to the University of Leeds graduate, Esther Simpson.

Esther Simpson, who graduated from Leeds in 1924 with first class honours in French with German, spent nearly all her working life as secretary to the Academic Assistance Council (later, the Society for the Protection of Science and Learning – SPSL). She was awarded the OBE in 1956; the French Government made her Officier d’Académie; and after her retirement in 1966, she received two honorary doctorates, including one from Leeds in 1989.

In honour of her career, this new building is now officially called The Esther Simpson Building. It will be a new central teaching space for all to use and will provide technology-rich, flexible teaching spaces, lecture theatres, and trading rooms. Work began at the Lyddon Terrace site in Winter 2019 and is due to be completed in 2021.

Watch a fly-through of the Esther Simpson Building.

 

 

 

The Nigel Bertram Centre at the National Pig Centre

University opens National Pig Centre in Yorkshire

Precision nutrition and 24-hour monitoring will enable scientists to provide new insights for the pig industry, as the University of Leeds opens the National Pig Centre.

Scientists from a range of disciplines at the University will use new state-of-the-art facilities to help improve the sustainability and efficiency of pig production.

Supported by more than £11 million investment, the facilities make Yorkshire one of the best places in Europe for pig research.

The National Pig Centre will be a leading research facility for pig nutrition, behaviour, health and production system research – all themes identified by the livestock industry as central to improving quality, productivity and future competitiveness.

Professor Lisa Collins, academic lead for the PigSustain project and Head of the University of Leeds’ School of Biology, said: “This new centre allows us to expand our work to improve the welfare of pigs, and the sustainability of the British pig industry.

“Our aim is to lower the environmental footprint of pig farming whilst ensuring that high welfare standards are maintained.”

Ribbon being cut at the opening of the National Pig Centre

The new centre will benefit from academic expertise drawn from across a range of disciplines including nutrition, health, behaviour and fertility, as well as computer vision, engineering, soil and water sciences, data analytics, and atmospheric and climate science.

It has been launched in partnership with CIEL (Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock). CIEL has invested £4.5 million with funding from Innovate UK, the UK’s Innovation Agency.

The investment includes a three-fold increase in the previous capacity of the farm, from 200 to 660 sows, – ensuring the research carried out better represents commercial pig farming. Of these, 220 will live outdoors.

The combination of an outdoor sow unit with an indoor system is unique in Europe, enabling direct comparison of the different rearing systems.

Academics will work to identify the key factors contributing to pig farming’s environmental footprint, and attempt to find alternatives that could drive down the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Their findings will help the UK achieve the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) target of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions across the whole of agriculture in England and Wales by 2040.

The centre’s indoor facility includes the ability to perform in-depth, automated nutrition trials to understand how best to feed and manage pigs at all stages of production. By harnessing precision nutrition, based on individual requirements, the aim is to reduce the cost of production, improve feed efficiency and reduce the environment impact of pig farming.

Researchers will also be able to make feed recommendations which keep pace with ongoing genetic improvements to pigs.

Tour of the National Pig Centre at the opening event

The indoor facility is equipped with CCTV throughout, permitting round the clock observations of individual pig’s behaviour at all stages of production. Researchers will utilise computer vision to automate data collection from the video footage, so behaviour and nutrition can be monitored at the individual pig level.

Students from across the University will have the opportunity to study at the National Pig Centre as part of their degrees, and some will have chance to contribute to research projects taking place at the farm.

Sir Alan Langlands, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, said: “Leeds is proud to be working in a number of ways at home and internationally to improve food security and the sustainability of the agricultural sector.

The National Pig Centre will provide a key national resource for industry to work in partnership with the University to develop innovative and practical solutions that make a positive contribution to the economy, environment and society.

We are hugely grateful for the strong support we have received from CIEL and Nigel Bertram, and the leading edge work of Helen Miller, our Professor of Animal Bioscience, in developing this facility.”

The facility has also been supported by a generous donation from University of Leeds alumnus Nigel Bertram.

Named in his honour, the Nigel Bertram Visitor Centre features conference and meeting facilities, offices and a live CCTV feed from the indoor pig unit.

Collaborating with industry

Centrally located in the UK, the National Pig Centre will promote engagement, discussion and collaboration between researchers and industry. The University and CIEL will work together to drive this process.

A membership organisation, CIEL works with businesses across the livestock supply chain to identify & develop their research needs and build relevant collaborations to deliver new technologies and processes that address key challenges facing the sector.

“We’re very proud to work with Leeds and develop this first for the pig and pork industry,” said Lyndsay Chapman, CIEL’s Chief Executive. “It provides unique research capability on a commercially relevant scale and complements the investments we’ve made across the CIEL network. Through our nationwide collaborative alliance, we’re working to ensure industry has access to the very best expertise in this field of research.”

Tackling challenges in food security

Projects at the National Pig Centre will help tackle some of the current challenges in pig production including:

  • Nutrition: developing precision feeding for livestock to improve sustainability and productivity and study the effects of nutrition on welfare and behaviour
  • Anti-microbial resistance: developing healthier pigs with more robust gut health and improved resistance to disease, thereby reducing antibiotic use
  • Production systems: improving efficiency of production and identifying better ways to feed and manage pigs
  • Monitoring pig behaviour and developing algorithms to allow early detection of health conditions

The National Pig Centre is one of the University facilities that will help deliver the goals of the Global Food and Environment Institute (GFEI), which aims to address the challenge of feeding the world whilst protecting natural resources.

This work aligns closely to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, particularly to end hunger, achieve food security and promote sustainable agriculture.

As well as the pig farm, GFEI is also carrying out research projects in arable farming, urban food consumption and health, food security in the Global South, and international food supply chains.