Keele University Forest of Light

Background

The existing site at Keele consisted of a central pedestrianised square and car park situated next to the Students’ Union Building and a row of shops. Surrounding the square were a number of the University’s educational facilities, the library and a Grade II listed chapel with access routes from throughout the University leading to this central hub.

As part of its 50th Anniversary celebrations, the University rolled out an improvements plan across the site, including full refurbishment of the Students’ Union Building and shops, construction of a new Day Nursery and extension to a teaching facility. An on-going maintenance contract was also underway to improve the electricity supply network throughout the campus. The University also held a national competition to commission a new public artwork for display in the Union Square plaza area as a key part of the 50th Anniversary refreshment plans.

Our Role

idverde UK was awarded the contract in late December 2011 and mobilised to site in January 2012. The project consisted of a three phased handover which coincided with specific University events. Each handover was achieved successfully to the Client’s satisfaction.
Access routes around the university were to be maintained throughout the duration of works including all interfaces with public buildings. Works took place across three phases of the project and included:
•     Installation of 300Lm of high pressure water main including all associated valves and connection whilst maintaining
live flows to buildings.
•     Installation of 10No manholes, 80m3 attenuation tank, hydrobrake and connections into existing drainage system.
•     An overflow system plus headwall and swale.
•     Tanking detail added to shop frontages and 120Lm of linear surface drainage and road gullies.
•     1200m2 of rigidly laid paving.
•     1550m2 of flexibly laid paving.
•     Installation of beany kerbs.
•     Extensive construction of concrete and timber edged macadam footpaths and associated sets of steps and flank
walls in brickwork.
•     Installation of lighting features including illuminated bollards, chapel lights, LED uplighters, wall lights, street lighting
columns and associated ducting networks.
•     Installation of electricity feeder pillars and associated ducting network.
•     Installation of CCTV bases and networking.
•     Installation of bollards and benches.
•     Work to the car park was carried out including 3000m2 Overlay and re-lining including new speed bumps, pedestrian
crossings, revised access routes, splitter islands and signage.
•     Restoration, refurbishment and further installation of Yorkstone paving, steps and brickwork features to match
Grade II liste Chapel’s style.
•     Soft landscaping works including the installation of 16 tree pits, 24 trees with uplighting and 4,700 shrubs.
•     A reinforced concrete base in preparation for the sculpture’s installation.
•     Installation of the 50th Anniversary Sculpture.

Challenges

As a carefully planned, phased project, it was important that the team were able to complete works on time in order to ensure that the site was open for key events in the University’s calendar.
Maintaining a good relationship with the Students’ Union and shops was a vital part of the refurbishment contract, to ensure that impact on their business was minimised.
Throughout works, access needed to be maintained for students and members of the public to various buildings around the site, whist interfacing with doorways, fire escape routes and events.
As such a large-scale project, there were a number of subcontractors who required access to the site at various stages, making it essential to project manage carefully in liaison with others and avoid scheduling conflicts.
The installation of the 50th Anniversary sculpture involved construction and associated engineering detailing, in consultation with the artist in order to bring the vision to life.