Leading construction contractor Stepnell has been awarded a £13.1 million contract by the University of Leicester to complete the modernisation of its Percy Gee Building.
Stepnell’s Nottingham team recently began work to extend and enhance the East Wing of the multi-purpose facility which is home to the Students’ Union as well as being a popular venue for informal meetings and social learning. Most of the building has already been successfully transformed by an earlier award-winning redevelopment which finished in 2011.
Stepnell will complete the work by creating a new four-storey extension, housing additional facilities including a large, brand-new food court; double the amount of space for social learning and a new informatics lab for the study of information science. A new façade and entrance for the East Wing will provide increased accessibility and improve the way the building connects to the rest of the campus, including the University’s main square.
The redevelopment, designed by Shepheard Epstein Hunter architects, is set for completion in August 2019, ready for the start of the new academic year.
Brita Sread, director of Estates and Campus Services at the University of Leicester, says:
“We are pleased to welcome Stepnell to the team to deliver an exciting project within our investment programme. These plans will complete the modernisation of the Percy Gee Building and deliver an extension to match the quality of the rest of the Students’ Union.
“Situated in the heart of the campus, the building is the focal point for student activity and this development will give us a student hub that we can be proud of. The impressive new eastern facade will also establish a direct link between the vibrant atria space already within the Students’ Union, and the newly completed public square which is a site for major student and public events.
“This is just one of a number of investment projects planned over the next 10 years in order to support the delivery of world-class academic activity and create an environment that fosters collaboration and achievement.”
Stepnell regional director Thomas Sewell comments:
“This major project will transform the facilities offered by the East Wing, ensuring that they meet the extremely high standards set by the rest of the building. We are delighted to be working once again with the University of Leicester to further enhance the student experience by completing the redevelopment of this important facility at the heart of campus life.” The energy-efficient extension to the Percy Gee Building will achieve a BREEAM sustainability rating of ‘Very Good’, incorporating energy-saving technology including solar shading to reduce heat gain.
Stepnell has extensive experience of successfully delivering both new-build and refurbishment projects in the university sector. High-profile projects previously carried out for the University of Leicester include the construction of a new contemporary gallery at its Attenborough Arts Centre and a major programme of refurbishment for the University’s Robert Kilpatrick Clinical Sciences Building.
In line with its belief in providing training opportunities in local communities and helping develop the next generation of construction professionals, Stepnell will provide a number of work placements giving local people the opportunity to gain industry experience by working under supervision on the Percy Gee Building project. The company is already providing a number of placements on site arranged through business volunteering charity Leicestershire Cares and will also be offering placements to local students at Leicester College.