University of Leicester’s £30 million medical teaching facility gets go-ahead

Posted by pt91 at Mar 14, 2012 04:25 PM |
New building will provide 'best possible facilities' for medical students
University of Leicester’s £30 million medical teaching facility gets go-ahead

An artist's impression of the new building. Credit: Associated Architects.

Published by University of Leicester Press Office on 14 March 2012

New doctors being trained in Leicester will learn in the latest state-of-the-art facilities under plans proposed by the University of Leicester and approved by Leicester City Council.

The £30 million Medical Building will house teaching rooms and computer laboratories in one of the most energy efficient buildings of its kind in the UK.

The development will allow the University to continue to enhance its excellent reputation for medical teaching.  It will replace teaching undertaken by the University’s College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology in the current medical sciences building which was constructed in the mid 70s.

The University of Leicester has entered into an agreement with Regent College in order to develop the site on land currently owned by Regent College at the corner of University Road and Lancaster Road.

Regent College has agreed in principle to the sale of a section of land to the University of Leicester in order to directly fund the development of a high quality college sports hall, changing facilities and new classrooms, as well as to bring into use areas of the college estate that are currently unusable for sport.  The plan includes the development of an improved levelled and drained sports pitch. These developments will significantly enhance the range of sports and teaching facilities on offer to young people in Leicester and will enable the college to extend its commitment to sport.

Following approval, the University will agree a purchase of the site from the College with view to developing the site by autumn 2015.

The proposed project will be funded from a variety of sources including use of  loans, reserves and support from the NHS.

Professor Stewart Petersen, Head of Medical and Social Care Education, said: “This fantastic new building will ensure that Leicester medical students learn in the best possible facilities, so they may be very well equipped to face the challenges of medicine in the 21st century.

“We’re absolutely delighted that we can go ahead with this development now. It will make a huge difference because we will be able to teach our medical students in excellent facilities and therefore attract the best medical students who will make  the best doctors, many of whom stay on and work in Leicester.

“The old building that this new facility succeeds was built thirty-five years ago and is getting very tired. It was also built for a very different style of medical education. Nowadays, medical students learn in a different way and they need access to a wide range of different resources, and we want to make sure that we can provide access to all of those resources in a single integrated unit for them, which will help them learn in ways which are the best preparation for clinical work in the future.”

Grant Charman, Deputy Director of Estates at the University said: “The design of the building has been developed in close consultation with the Local Planning Authority and Regent College, to provide a scheme commensurate with their needs and the site parameters.

“Nearby roads and buildings including Regent College itself are laid out in a ‘grid’ arrangement and the proposed design of the Medical Teaching Building is sympathetic to this.

“In line with the University’s Sustainability Policy, the Medical Building will incorporate numerous environmentally friendly features including natural light and ventilation, external solar shades, photovoltaic solar panels, a combined heat and power (CHP) system and a free-cooling labyrinth which uses only a fraction of the energy of conventional air-conditioning. There will also be a planted wall and green roof on the side nearest Regent College. The ambitious plans aim to make this one of the most energy efficient buildings of its kind in the UK.”

Paul Wilson, Principal of Regent College, said: “The plans represent an exciting opportunity that will directly benefit learners at both the University and Regent College.

“Like many Colleges nationally, Regent College was denied the opportunity to progress a previously approved capital project that would have led to a similar major redevelopment of the college site in 2009. This stalled due to the suspension of the former Learning and Skills Council capital programme and restrictions in the public funding available for such schemes.  Consequently the college has developed alternative strategies to deliver this important extension and improvement to the college estate.

“The plans for Regent College to work closely with the University of Leicester in this scheme will further improve the existing close relationship between the College and University, delivering fantastic new facilities for sport and new opportunities for further strengthening our already good academic links to the University Medical School.”

Dr Kevin Harris, medical director at Leicester’s Hospitals, said: ‘This can only be good news for us and our patients. The University of Leicester’s medical school is already one of the biggest and most prestigious in the country attracting a high calibre of medical students, who spend time with us when they train. We know that many students choose to stay in the city where they trained, which means Leicester’s Hospitals has a large pool of trained doctors to recruit from.”

Speaking on BBC Radio Leicester Patrick Kitterick, Chair of the City Council’s Planning Committee, said:

“The committee voted overwhelmingly to approve it and it’s not just a facility for the City, it’s a facility for the country in terms of producing medically qualified students."

The architects for the project are Associated Architects in Birmingham

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