Lendlease has signed a contract for the enabling works and pre-construction services, and has been selected as preferred bidder for the whole £80m project.
It already has staff on site surveying the existing structure, preparing to strip it back to its frame ahead of developing it into a university building.
The Copperas Hill development is expected to create a significant focal point for the university and for the area of Liverpool city centre where it is located, opposite Lime Street Station. It will act as a gateway to Liverpool’s Knowledge Quarter, and bring together the university’s Mount Pleasant and Byrom Street campuses.
The new building will bring together the university’s three libraries and also house a central teaching unit with lecture theatres and seminar rooms, as well as study zones and IT suites. Sports facilities on the site will include an eight-court sports hall, a gym and dance studios, while the building will also have offices for the Liverpool Students’ Union and spaces for other services including a careers centre and cafes.
Two new mezzanine floors will be added to the existing structure, and the roof developed to allow use for sports and recreation, with the total floor area of the building increasing from an existing 280,000 square feet to 355,500 square feet.
Simon Gorski, executive general manager of UK regions for Lendlease, said: “The challenge of retaining the existing and very prominent structure and utilising it to create an iconic and inspirational multi-purpose facility is really exciting. We are delighted to be back in Liverpool”.
Lendlease previously built the Liverpool Arena and the Enterprise South Liverpool Academy (ESLA) project.
The enabling work at Copperas Hill is due to complete in August 2016, and Lendlease is hoping to start main construction works in the summer, with a view to delivering a completed building in the first half of 2018.
The design team comprises BDP Architects, Curtins Structural Engineers and Arup Building Services Engineer.
Lendlease has already provided sessions to LJMU students describing the scheme and encouraging them to become involved in learning about the some of the construction techniques employed on the project, such as 3D imaging and Building Information Modelling (BIM).
University vice-chancellor Nigel Weatherill 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.”