University of Leicester eBulletin

University of Leicester Unveils £300 Million 'Vision of the Future'

September 2002
No 205

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The University of Leicester has unveiled a £300 million ‘vision of the future’, creating a state-of-the art campus with enhanced teaching and learning facilities to meet the needs of new generations of researchers and students.

Central to the vision is the development of academic sectors, creating communities of learners in different disciplines to promote inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary teaching and research.

New and enhanced facilities for Leicester’s growing community of students are an integral part of the development with the creation of a major extension to the University Library.

part of campus showing development plan
University of Leicester Development Plan:

The Vision          The Plan          Virtual Tour

These developments demonstrate that the University of Leicester is engaged in capital works that will provide state-of-the-art facilities for research and teaching. The total spend envisaged is equivalent to the amount invested in major capital projects in the University over the last 40 years.

The need for growth is the result of the phenomenal success of the University –Leicester now has over 18,500 students and this is expected to grow to 25,000 within a decade.

Allied with the unveiling of the Development Plan is consideration currently being given to how to utilize the University’s physical resources to their maximum potential.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Burgess said: “The University of Leicester is thinking creatively about the future, trying to envisage the campus of tomorrow. This Development Plan describes the physical attributes of the campus but we are clearly putting a lot of thought and planning into what kind of University will emerge.

“We are already recognised as a top 20 University and we need to develop our academic programmes in order to maintain and enhance our position, to fulfil our ambitions and meet the needs of our students, staff and others.

“If the needs of students are changing, Leicester wants to be in a position to respond to these needs. For example, there may be increasing demands for undergraduate degree programmes to be delivered part-time and at different times of the day - we need to be geared up for that.

“Our wealth of experience being the UK’s biggest University for the number of taught postgraduate students has given us knowledge of flexible learning patterns. We have students in other parts of the world learning with us and have experience of interactive delivery of lectures on an international basis.

“Our aim is to create more flexible space on campus –and to open our minds to the potential this offers. The University of Leicester will remain forward-thinking and we are tremendously excited about the possibilities this Development Plan offers. We aim to create a University fit for purpose for the 21st century.”

The Development Plan, produced by architects Shepheard Epstein Hunter, suggests increasing building capacity by 50,000sq.m – a 30% increase in space on the central campus.

While buildings are under construction, a total of 1,000 jobs will be created– and University employment is expected to increase from the current level of 3,000 to more than 4,000 staff. The University of Leicester is among the city and county’s biggest employers with a projected turnover next year in excess of £150 million.

Work on a £20 million Biomedical Research building has already started and there will be a consultation period over the Development Plan before work starts in 2003-4.

The projects will be funded by a mixture of sources including HEFCE capital, loans and income generated by growth, spinouts and other business income generation.

Professor Burgess added: “The University of Leicester stands at a turning point in its history; we have the opportunity to expand in ways which were never envisaged when the central campus was developed in the early 1960s.

“This bold and imaginative plan provides many exciting possibilities for the University – taking us forward into a new era by building on the many successes through which this University has achieved world-class status.

“This is a framework for developing the University over the next 30 years- but it is not a static plan; ideas will be refined and changed as the University evolves. We are not bound by details – this plan provides a structure to think about future development.

“This Development Plan is a statement of how confident the University of Leicester is in its strengths and abilities and our ambitions for the future.”

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Last updated: September 2002
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