LITAC new meeting room

New space for the Leeds Institute of Textiles & Colour

A new base has been completed for the Leeds Institute of Textiles & Colour (LITAC) in the Clothworkers Central Building, with the management team due to move in this week.

The interior design team, part of the Estates team in the University’s Facilities Directorate, worked with Associated Architects to create the bright and airy space which comprises a large meeting room, offices, and a reception area with kitchen.

In consultation with LITAC, the design compliments the brand identity of the Institute, using the colours of its logo (black, cream, white and gold) in the style and finishes, while also being sympathetic to the Clothworkers’ Tower building in which the office is situated.

David Oldroyd, Interim Director of Development, Estates & Facilities said:

“The area was previously used by Chemistry and there was a lot of work to do before the build started, including dismantling fume cupboards and opening up the space. Lodestone were employed to do the build and have done a great job.”

“It was a pleasure for the Estates team to work with LITAC, who have excellence in design at the heart of their work. The result is a high spec, highly functional and inviting space.”

It has been designed not only with functionality and comfort for the team at its core, but also to provide a collaborative place for hosting the Institute’s research partners across different industries in a professional and creative environment.

About LITAC

LITAC is a collaborative University of Leeds research Institute that was founded in 2021. The Institute sits within the School of Design but works across campus coordinating expertise and resources to address global research challenges related to textiles, colour and fashion.

Its roots date back almost 150 years in textile and colour research. Building on the generous support of the Clothworkers’ Company in 1874, the legacy continues as LITAC will be based within the historical Clothworkers’ Buildings at the University of Leeds.

Professor Steve Russell, Director of LITAC said:

“The space has been transformed and provides colleagues with a superb facility for collaborative discussions, right next to the Institute’s extensive research labs and equipment.”

“With a dedicated entrance off Clothworkers’ Court, we look forward to welcoming all visitors to the Institute.”

Photos by John Tees photography

Drone shot of Bodington Football Hub

New community football facility for Leeds

Grassroots sport in Leeds received a huge boost in October with the unveiling of the Bodington Football Hub, a new facility for the community of Leeds.

Located at Sports Park Bodington – part of the University of Leeds – the new Hub is built in partnership with the Football Foundation and includes three full-size, artificial 3G floodlit football pitches, car parking and a pavilion with changing facilities and a café.

It has been made possible thanks to a £4.3m grant from the Football Foundation which is a charity supported by the Premier League, the Football Association and the Government.

The result of partnership working between the University, the Football Foundation, West Riding County FA, and Leeds City Council, the Hub progresses the development of four sites in Leeds that together will provide 13 new full-size pitches, responding to the need for sporting facilities in and around the city.

David Oldroyd, Interim Deputy Director of Development said:

“This was a major project for the Estates team working with partners across the university and elsewhere. The Hub is a key facility for the community, and the design of the pavilion – which includes communal seating and inspiring artwork –  reflects that.”

The University already partners extensively with community clubs and schools through its volunteering programme, which sees students coaching and officiating locally.

Ella Williams, Activities & Opportunities Officer, Leeds University Union (LUU) said:

“LUU is here to help students love their time at Leeds, and for me that includes being part of a wider community in the city and the region.”

“While the Hub will host many community clubs, I know that our own footballers are excited about having access to this state-of-the-art facility and about the University and the Football Foundation contributing to local sport in this way.”

Robert Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, added:

“This is a brilliant example of how investment from our partners, the Premier League, The FA, Government and Sport England improves grassroots facilities across the country.”

People planting the trees at Gair Wood woodland

A new woodland for Leeds

A young oak was planted today to mark a new initiative to develop woodland on land owned by the University of Leeds.

Situated next to Golden Acre Park at Bramhope, the 37-hectare site – the size of 37 rugby pitches – will eventually be home to 66,000 new trees, a mixture of broadleaf species including oak, elder, hornbeam, wild cherry and silver birch.

Gair Wood has been developed as the result of a partnership between the Estates Team, Sustainability Service, United Bank of Carbon and the White Rose Forest and is named for Roger Gair who was University Secretary for more than 20 years and retired in 2021 and who put the first tree into the ground in a ceremony today (Friday 2 December.)

James Wright, Senior Maintenance Manager in the Facilities Directorate said:

“Mass planting of the woodland begins in the New Year with a team of professional landscapers and an opportunity for the public and volunteers from the University to get involved too.

“Gair Wood  contributes to the target set by the White Rose Forest, the community forest for West and North Yorkshire by 2025, for 7 million more trees by 2025. It’s fantastic that the university is a part of this.”

Until the young trees have become well established, public access will be restricted, with increasing levels of access over the next five years as the saplings develop. The woodland will be connected by paths to the Leeds Country Way.

University’s Climate Plan

Developing Gair Wood is also part of the University’s Climate Plan through which the University is committed to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Dr Cat Scott, University Academic Fellow based in the School of Earth and Environment at Leeds and academic lead for Gair Wood, said:

 “Creating this woodland will allow us to explore the impacts, in real-time, of tree planting as a nature-based solution to climate change. Researchers with a wide range of expertise are coming together to assess changes to diverse aspects of the site like the composition of the soil, the species of wildlife present, and local air quality as this new woodland evolves.”

The woodland will also connect existing habitats that have become fragmented, allowing wildlife to move to find food, mates and new locations to live. Students have already conducted baseline measurement of plants, insects, birds and mammals and these will be tracked to monitor how these change over the coming years.

The project is funded by the White Rose Forest through Defra’s Nature for Climate Fund with support from the Leeds City Council and the Forestry Commission.

Find out more about the University’s Sustainability Services.

Flower meadow

Gold for University in Yorkshire in Bloom Awards

 The University of Leeds has been awarded Gold status and is a category winner in the annual Yorkshire in Bloom Awards.  

Judges from the regional body representing the Britain in Bloom campaign gave special mention to the University’s partnership working, particularly with students and staff. This includes work by the student biodiversity ambassadors, who map and create plans surrounding biodiversity on campus and within residences, and projects such as the North Hill Well Wood project, which was completed this year. 

The accessibility of our gardens and the signs within them, our mature trees and the encouragement of biodiversity around campus, particularly at Roger Stevens Pond, were also singled out.  

James Wright, Senior Maintenance Manager said: 

“Our campus – at the heart of the city – is a haven for wildlife and contains plenty of spaces for staff, students and visitors to relax in.  

“Our planting is carefully considered, and we are very pleased to achieve this recognition.” 

 

Mike Leonard, Residential Property Manager, University of Leeds said: 

We are very grateful to Yorkshire in Bloom for this recognition of our work to create a welcoming and well-maintained campus.  

“Collaboration is key to our success, working with teams in Estates, Residential and Sustainability Services, alongside students and external organisations such as Buglife; Yorkshire Wildlife Trust; Hedgehog-Friendly Campus and Groundwork Yorkshire, so we can make spaces that have a positive impact on wellbeing as well as the environment “

 This is not the first time that the University of Leeds has received great results for Yorkshire in Bloom, winning gold awards in both 2017 and 2019 

Judges said: 

“The most surprising element of visiting Leeds University campus is the ability to forget that you are in the centre of a major city whilst being surrounded by greenery and tranquillity.”

Find out more about our Grounds and Gardens Team

Sustainable garden team

Accessible makeover for the Sustainable Garden

Ayesha Fitzwilliam Hall, an apprentice in the Grounds and Gardens team, spotted an opportunity to develop her skills by redesigning and refreshing the Sustainable Garden, a much loved area of campus which had become overgrown following COVID-19 lockdowns.

She has worked with her colleagues and the Sustainability service to redesign the space to improve accessibility and usability. This includes the introduction of raised planting areas, new furniture to support workshops and learning, and establishing new edible planting to ensure that the space is ready to welcome students and staff back to campus in 2022.

Ayesha said:

“The Sustainable Garden is a wonderful area but lockdowns and fewer people on campus had an impact on its usability. I enjoyed leading a team of colleagues on the redesign work to make sure that the space was once again a great place for everyone on campus. The bigger task though, has been restoring the garden in line with the University’s sustainability principles. It’s hard work but I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. I hope to welcome lots of people to enjoy and volunteer in the space over the next year.”

More improvements will be added over the coming weeks and months, including a wellbeing area, with a view to bringing back regular volunteer gardening sessions for staff and students through this term and beyond.

Find out more about the Sustainability service at the University of Leeds.

Robert Bradley and Weetwood floodlight

New low carbon floodlights latest step to Net Zero by 2030

Low energy LED floodlights recently installed at Sports Park Weetwood – part of the University of Leeds – are set to reduce carbon emissions by 6.7 tonnes a year.

Their installation is among the latest activity in the work by Estates and Facilities to move the campus towards delivering net zero emissions by 2030, a key commitment of the University Climate Plan. 

The LED floodlights use less electricity than previous equipment and have greater light output, which means fewer fittings need to be installed. They also have a longer life span.

It is estimated the new lights will save 29,879 kWh of energy per year, which equates to a reduction of 6.7 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions.

Ann Allen, Director of Campus Innovation and Development said:

“All the work that we do makes a difference to students and staff however our work to move the campus towards delivering net zero by 2030 is the biggest single project by the Estates and Facilities team to make a difference to our planet and is at the core of the University’s Climate Plan.”

“It includes the targeted refurbishment of buildings, the installation of low carbon technologies and solar panels across the estate – including sports facilities like those at Weetwood – and the electrification of our vehicle fleet.”

“This work builds on activity over many years to save electricity across the breadth of the Leeds campus including installation of LED lighting and working with Faculties to use out campus more effectively.”

Reducing carbon emissions across the University

Other activity to reduce emissions – outlined in the recent Climate Plan quarterly report – includes work to develop a new heating, cooling and ventilation policy to reduce energy use. A shutdown of the steam network over the summer months contributed towards a 15% reduction in emissions between June and August 2022.

University Residences have begun a programme of low energy lighting upgrades, starting at Lupton.

A major project is currently underway to assess the opportunities for building retrofit and heat pump installation across campus to reduce energy demand, alongside identification of opportunities to install further solar panels on University buildings.

Further work has been commissioned including a report into climate resilience on campus, and an analysis of electrical requirements over the next 25 years.

 

The Edge's newly refurbished fitness suite

The Edge ready for new term with major refurbishment

The Edge’s new facilities – which include a complete upgrade of cardiovascular and resistance equipment – are now complete and ready for use.

The improvements position it as one of the premier health and wellbeing centres in the city.

The new layout of the fitness suite provides more space for strength and resistance training and spin studio has been refurbished with a new layout and bikes.

Flooring and lighting have been replaced to create a warm and inviting atmosphere and a new sound system to create a better ambiance.

Suzanne Glavin, Head of Sport & Physical Activity, said:

“This major update helps The Edge to stand out from competitors to an even greater extent. It is essential that we cater to the ever-changing needs of our customers, and currently there is a focus in fitness on strength and functional equipment, which we have met by including equipment such as a master centre rig.”

Jon Webster, Site Manager for Sewell Construction said;

“We’re proud to play a part in this development, which will help improve leisure facilities for staff and students at the University of Leeds, as well as the wider community.

“As with all our schemes, sustainability and carbon impact are high on our agenda, and we have ensured that any waste from site has been disposed of in a responsible way. Across all our sites we strive for 96% being diverted from landfill and we hope this will continue to be improved even further.”

Find out more about The Edge and Sport & Physical Activity at the University of Leeds.

Rosa Quintana on Parkinson steps

National Cleaning Operative of the Year award for Leeds’ Rosa Quintana

Rosa Quintana – whose recent exhibition ‘Unobtrusive Impact’ at Leeds University Union won widespread acclaim – has been named Cleaning Operative of the Year by the British Association of Cleaning in Higher Education (BACHE). 

The award acknowledges those who have performed their role to a high degree of professionalism throughout the year, and who may have shown initiative in contributing to the student experience and outside the normal requirements of their role.

Rosa said:

“I’m very happy to receive this award and want to thank Jill Roberts, Head of Cleaning Services, for nominating me and for all her support.

“Mostly though, I want to say thank you to my colleagues in the cleaning team who let me photograph them and tell their stories. I wanted to show students, staff and visitors what we do and how essential we are to the success of the University.

“I also wanted to shine a spotlight on these amazing individuals from all over the world who are often quite ‘invisible’ – their lives, their hopes and fears.”

Professional photographer Rosa started work at the University in 2017 after coming to Leeds with her son from Spain, when he started at university in the city.

Jill Roberts, Head of Cleaning Services – part of the Facilities Directorate at the University of Leeds – said:

“Like all our cleaning team, Rosa brings skill and commitment to her work and thoroughly deserves this award.

“I was so pleased when she came to me with the idea of the exhibition, which highlights the essential role of cleaning teams everywhere.

“This was very evident during the pandemic when Rosa’s photographs were taken.  The essential functions of the University continued and my team – and many others in the Facilities Directorate – had to keep going, adapting to new guidelines.”

The award ceremony took place last night at Manchester Metropolitan University, organised by BACHE.

Praise for ‘Unobtrusive Impact’

People across the University took to email and social media to praise the exhibition:

“Really lovely work, and I particularly liked reading about some of the people in the pictures.”

(Gareth Dant, Head of Media Relations)

“I am so very proud of Rosa and what she has done for the cleaning industry….She really put us on the map. Well done to Rosa she is a really inspirational member of staff. She is very valued in our team and throughout cleaning services.”

(Theresa Fahy, Operations Team Leader, Cleaning Services)

 “This is amazing…awesome shift of perspectives, the crucial work of our cleaning colleagues.”

(Harriet Boatwright, Learning & Development Adviser)

 

Find out more about Rosa’s exhibition

The William Henry Bragg Building exterior at night

Official opening for Sir William Henry Bragg Building

The Sir William Henry Bragg Building had its official opening on Monday 6 June 2022.

Marked by a series of events as part of the opening ceremony, the building is home to the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences and a state-of-the-art integrated teaching and research facility, designed to help the University achieve its strategic aim of making a positive difference in the world.

Open for use in October last year, it has achieved a BREEAM Excellent rating for sustainability. The light-filled atrium provides social breakout and collaboration space for staff and students, including the 1915 Café.

How ‘The Bragg’ was built

Work began in May 2017 with the clearance of an office building, plumbing and locking workshops and an old boiler house.

The Portland stone façade of the Grade II listed Old Mining Building, built in 1930, was retained and incorporated into the design, blending the past with the present.

Behind it, a walkway connects a new seven-storey glass and steel complex with teaching rooms and laboratories.

At the heart of the design is a desire to break down traditional boundaries. In robotics, for example, the new space will allow computer science experts to work with colleagues from electronic, electrical and mechanical engineering.

This theme is reflected in a sculpture by artist Sara Barker on an exterior wall called ‘The Worlds of If’, a reference to the possibilities unlocked when experts share ideas.

Cutting-edge facilities

When finalised, the building will house:

  • A mock operating theatre where engineers can work with clinicians on robots for medicine and healthcare.
  • The Wolfson Imaging Facility which will enable scientists to see molecules interacting in real time in more detail than ever before.
  • Work in the Bragg Centre for Materials Research will help establish the UK as a centre for the design and manufacture of new advanced materials to solve some of the big problems facing the world.
  • The University is a founding partner of the Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials, and the Institute’s work at Leeds will be co-located in the building with the Bragg Centre for Materials Research. Work will focus on manipulating and developing materials at the scale of individual atoms.

About the Braggs

The Braggs were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1915 for their pioneering research at Leeds. Their work involved the proposal of an equation that allowed the position of atoms within crystals to be determined from X-ray photographs.

Take a look at the Bragg Building in action…

Find out more about the construction of The Sir William Henry Bragg Building.

Flood management group photo in front of sign

University flood management scheme is first in UK

A natural flood management facility at the Brownlee Triathlon Centre, University of Leeds, has now completed.

The first of its kind in the UK, it will reduce flood risk in the area and make it more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

Some of the measures include the planting of 5,000 trees, creating leaky barriers, installing a balancing pond and wetland areas, and improving site drainage which help to slow the flow of water and increase flood resilience in the area.

James Wright from Estates and Facilities, whose team supported the construction and planting phases, liaising with academic colleagues to coordinate soil sampling, said:

“As well as helping to reduce flood risk, this fantastic new development provides a ‘living lab’ for research and teaching at the University of Leeds and contributes to the understanding of flood management at a national level.

“The trees act as a shield to stop and slow rainfall before it reaches the ground and increase carbon capture and storage capacity, providing valuable habitats for local wildlife.

“The University is working towards a Net Zero by 2030 campus.”

Colleagues from Sport & Physical Activity also supported the construction of the project.

Michael Howroyd, Sustainability Projects Officer at the University of Leeds, added:

“The site at Bodington Fields will be invaluable to academics and students, providing hands on research opportunities and data, whilst also providing benefits for local residents, biodiversity and climate.

“The project is a fantastic example of how collaboration across stakeholders can make use of University land for world class research and teaching, which will have an impact across the wider city region and beyond.”

Flood management woodland sign

Partnership working

The project has been delivered through a collaboration between the University of Leeds, the Environment Agency, and Leeds City Council and is the second phase of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme which aims to better protect 1,048 homes and 474 businesses from flooding along the River Aire.

Studies are being carried out by the University of Leeds on how to optimise tree densities and to better understand how to improve the survival of young trees as they develop into mature woodland.

The Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme Natural Flood Management Project is funded by Leeds City Council and aims to deliver natural flood management measures across the Upper Aire Catchment to help slow and store the flow of heavy rainfall and flood waters.

Find out more about Bodington Fields and the natural flood management work conducted by the University of Leeds