Topping out ceremony marks a key milestone for University landmark engineering development. The Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD) – one of the largest capital projects ever undertaken by a UK higher education institution – has celebrated a key milestone in its construction.
A special event last Friday marked the ‘topping out’ of the landmark development, a world-class facility that will benefit staff, students and visitors. MECD will house the University’s Engineering disciplines, innovative teaching spaces and research institutes such as the Dalton Nuclear Institute and the BP International Centre for Advanced Materials (BP-ICAM).
The topping out ceremony was led by Professor Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, and Leo Quinn, the Group CEO of Balfour Beatty. As guests watched, the University’s Director of Estates and Facilities Diana Hampson, the Vice-President/Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering Professor Martin Schröder and Balfour Beatty’s Chief Executive Dean Banks joined Nancy and Leo to sign a steel girder which marks the highest point of the new facility.
The £400 million project forms an essential part of the University of Manchester’s ten-year Campus Masterplan. It will support the University’s strategic goals by providing an outstanding learning environment and student experience, supporting world-class research and further enabling the university’s social responsibility agenda.
Located near Oxford Road, MECD will consolidate the majority of the University’s estate onto one main campus, creating a more compact and coherent infrastructure that reduces the institution’s carbon footprint and costs. The move will also free up considerable land holdings in the north of the campus, enabling the University to play a significant role in the future economic success of the city by developing the site into a world-class innovation district over the next 20 years.
Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, said: “For well over a century The University of Manchester has celebrated many achievements in science and engineering, and across our other disciplines too. The University’s impact on and contribution to society is constantly evolving and this can be vividly seen through our buildings.
“MECD will create a world-leading teaching, learning and research facility to develop the engineers, scientists and innovators of tomorrow.” Diana Hampson, Director of Estates and Facilities at The University of Manchester, added: “The Manchester Engineering Campus Development will create state-of-the-art facilities that will put the University at the forefront of engineering globally, helping attract even more world-class talent to the institution. We are proud to provide such an exceptional space for our exceptional people.”
Key partners in the development include Balfour Beatty, concept architects Mecanoo, detail architects BDP, project managers Buro Four, project engineers Arup and cost managers Arcadis. Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty Group Chief Executive, said: “We are proud to be working with the University of Manchester to deliver this innovative and world-class facility. I’m certain it will add to the UK’s reputation for engineering excellence - and encourage and inspire the next generations of expert engineers who will study here and help to shape our future.”
Upon completion, the development will host a wide range of flexible hi-specification laboratories and lecture spaces to welcome up to 7,000 students and 1,300 staff. MECD will also incorporate blended learning facilities, workshops and a ‘maker space’ where students will see their engineering creations come to life. Students will have the opportunity to work on a diverse range of projects ranging from artificial intelligence and robotics to sustainable energy solutions and spacecraft. Upon completion, the facility will benefit from ‘green’ construction techniques resulting in smart energy consumption and advanced water recycling and waste systems.
At peak construction, the project will employ a workforce of 1,000, including multiple apprenticeships and graduate placements. The project will also create new job opportunities for local people through the University’s Construction Academy, which provides local residents with exposure to career opportunities in the construction sector. The project team will maximise the use of off-site manufacturing and the latest technology to optimise construction efficiency and deliver a smart facility of the highest standard.
Construction images via The University of Manchester.