Taking a look back to look forward
I was recently sent some photos from the University archives which show our building back when our main entrance and the Riley Smith Theatre were first opened. The photos made me feel just how far we have come with our activities, yet in some ways how far the building should still go to support a modern vision for students at Leeds.
The last two months have been dominated by detailed work which propel the project into new stages of procuring contractors and later design process. We signed-off on our “Stage 3” Design – this means we now take the first steps towards appointing the contractor who will undertake the construction and refurbishment work.
The various stages of a building project such as this show how robust a programme under University procurement and design must be. Every aspect of the designs drafted so far have been held under close scrutiny to provide data on the location of services and quality of finishes. Again, this time-consuming process will inform the contractors who can then plan and cost around detail we have provided.
The final key stage around interior designs is still to come and it will be exciting to get more people engaged with this part of the process. In the meantime I am still gaining inspiration from other spaces which include visits to a range of community and arts centres in London last week. (If anyone reading this wants to send me any ideas for inspirational spaces, please let me know!) It has been great to go through the Union Upgrade plans with newly elected Exec Officers Toke Dahler and Piers Cottee-Jones, who will also be happy to continue to receive comments and questions about the scheme.
There has also been work on a number of projects which continue to develop LUU in advance of the major refurbishment and in readiness for the next academic year. Work to improve Stylus as an improved venue will include the ability to partition the room and create a multi-purpose space for a variety of activity. Secondly, work to develop a new coffee bar replacing the unit currently operating on the Mezz (above the Refectory) has now been detailed and ordered. This unit is an exciting project which is going to create a new café based entirely upon student leadership and offering new employability opportunities in the operation. Finally, our Salad Box unit has been temporarily closed whilst we convert and replace all the equipment to better suit the model of fresh food operation.
The upside to our recent wet weather in Leeds has been to give us a great start to the new roof garden and growing spaces outside Terrace, where plants, herbs and vegetables are blooming!