Plans in for £100m Copperas Hill scheme

A planning application has been submitted for Liverpool John Moores University’s £100m redevelopment of the former Royal Mail sorting office at Copperas Hill, with a start on site scheduled for May 2016.

The 355,000 sq ft scheme next to Lime Street train station and the city’s Knowledge Quarter will bring together the University’s Mount Pleasant and Byrom Street campuses. The completed facility will become the centre of LJMU’s Connected University Campus Village.

In May contractor Lendlease will remove the exterior of the Royal Mail sorting office to expose the internal frame, which will then form the basis of the new structure.

Currently spread over five floors, the new building, accessible from both Copperas Hill and Brownlow Hill, will be expanded to include two mezzanine floors and use of the roof for sports and recreation. This will increase the floor area from the existing 280,000 sq ft to 355,000 sq ft.

The building will house the University’s three libraries, which will be combined into one facility for all students within the building, and student zones will also be created to accommodate different methods of working, including quiet spaces and areas for creative and collaborative working.

A flexible, central teaching unit will include a variety of lecture theatres, as well as general teaching spaces, seminar rooms and IT suites.

Sports facilities include an eight-court sports hall, a gym and multi-use studios for dance and all other sports and fitness activities.

Other services will include a café and retail space, the University’s World of Work Careers Centre, Student Advice & Wellbeing, Student Administration, and LJMU’s Teaching & Learning Academy.

BDP is the architect on the scheme, Christal Management project manager, Sweett Group consultant and employer agent, Curtins civil and structural engineer, Arup building services engineer.

Professor Nigel Weatherill, LJMU Vice-Chancellor, said: “Sometimes the term ‘transformational’ is overused but the impact of the new development at Copperas Hill cannot be over-estimated. Importantly for LJMU it will revolutionise the student experience and the physical shape of the University but it will also have a highly positive effect on the city itself.

“Here is a structure which lies in a prime, central location of the city, and we are now investing over £100m to ensure it is successfully regenerated, which will lead to the area once again becoming a hive of activity.

“For LJMU, the development at Copperas Hill will give us the opportunity to realise our ambitions of creating a Connected University Campus Village in the heart of the city. The choice of facilities will mean that all students and staff will have a reason to visit and use the new building, encouraging increased interaction and collaboration between different Faculties and subject areas. As a modern civic university, we also recognise our impact on our surrounding areas and communities and, with that in mind, we have incorporated a public route through the building which we hope will enhance civic engagement, in addition to connecting our existing campuses.”

Copperas Hill is expected to be open for use at the start of the academic year 2018.

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