Leeds City College gets keys to brand new campus | Wates

Leading contractor, Wates Construction, has handed over the keys to Leeds City College’s new £60m Quarry Hill Campus, marking a major milestone in the city’s new state-of-the-art learning space.

The £60m city centre site, set to open to students in September this year, will now undergo a major interior fit-out programme in readiness for Leeds City College’s School of Creative Arts and School of Social Science, Higher Education Centre and Leeds College of Music. The nine-storey building includes a performing arts theatre, 10 specialist music studios and 237 unique general teaching rooms.

The new development, designed by Ellis Williams Architects, also includes a performance studio, dance and rehearsal spaces, specialist sound equipment, TV studios, digital arts and animation facilities, a simulated practical care suite and nutrition training kitchen. The facilities have been carefully developed to meet the academic and vocational training specialisms of each of the individual schools.

Wates’ completion of the flagship new education building brings to a close over 100 weeks of construction work, which has seen the team collectively spend 750,000 working hours on site.

The completed structure comprises:

  • A total of 7,700 tonnes of concrete, equating to 1,300 African elephants;
  • A total volume of 3,130m3 of concrete, enough to fill an Olympic swimming pool;
  • 7,605 metres of glazing units, 76 times the height of Big Ben;
  • A single theatre beam of 250 tonnes, the weight of 1½ blue whales;
  • A total of 7,305 metres of glass, 2.7 times the length of the Golden Gate bridge.

Throughout construction, Wates’ exceeded its commitment to supporting the local community through a specifically designed engagement programme for young people. This included 20 site visits for schools, colleges and universities, nine employment workshops for students and 13 work placements. The project also created 28 new jobs and 16 new apprenticeships were undertaken on site with Wates and its supply chain

Wates also engaged local supply chain partners at Quarry Hill with 89% of project contracts awarded to suppliers within 25 miles of the project and with £110k spent with social enterprises.

The team also helped to create Eco Bricks with a local charity by supplying unrecyclable plastic from the site, an initiative that earned Wates a score of 46 out of 50 during an inspection from the Considerate Constructors Scheme.

David Wingfield, Business Unit Director, Wates Construction NE & Yorkshire, commented:

“Our completion of the new Quarry Hill Campus brings to fruition of an extremely successful project. To have delivered this technically challenging structure in a tight city centre footprint and with so much benefit brought to the local community is a fantastic achievement.

During our work on site we have had 260 people within our team during peak periods and our impeccable record of site health and safety shows the high standards we have maintained. This, along with the exceptional new development we now hand over to Leeds City College, makes myself and the team very proud.”

Mike Diaz, Director of Capital Projects at the Luminate Education Group of which Leeds City College is part of, said:

“This project has been a fantastic journey for us to date, and working with the team at Wates to deliver the building on time has been incredibly fulfilling. We have an ambition to create inspiring learning spaces and the new Quarry Hill Campus exemplifies this aim. Our students will be in a state-of-the-art campus, in the heart of the cultural quarter and we’re proud to be playing a major role in regenerating the wider Quarry Hill area.”

Louise Sheridan, Project Director for Ellis Williams Architects, said:

“We are delighted that the College’s forward-thinking vision for its new flagship Quarry Hill home is now a reality. The building is testament to the highly collaborative approach taken by the Client, end users including staff and students, Wates Construction, Leeds City Council and the wider design team. We are immensely proud that the new campus sets design standards for the future development of Quarry Hill and acts as a significant catalyst for its further regeneration.”

The new Quarry Hill Campus complex is located in the Leeds cultural quarter and sits alongside Leeds Playhouse and the Northern Ballet Theatre, which was also built by Wates, in 2010.

The new campus received £33.4million from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), delivered in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, through the Leeds City Region Growth Deal – a £1 billion plus package of Government investment to accelerate growth and create jobs across Leeds City Region. Speaking about the investment, Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the LEP, said:

“Young people hold the keys to the success of our future economy and that is why we’re investing £79 million from our Growth Deal funding in further education facilities throughout the Leeds City Region.

It’s vital that we equip our young people with the skills they’ll to succeed in the jobs of the future and I delighted to see the Quarry Hill campus one step closer to welcoming students through its doors in September.”

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