The Main Library Redevelopment is nearing the end of Stage 3 and we are currently in the process of scheduling work for the rest of the year that will guide us into Stage 4. Many of the major concepts and approaches have been established but there is a large amount of detail required as we prepare to put the finishing touches onto the design.
The IT Steering Group discussed some of the complexities that may be required as we move around the building during each phase of construction. The team are carrying out assessments of existing PC clusters and have developed a plan to provide a new communications room. This current period of the project allows us to begin testing some of the approaches we believe may work by challenging assumptions, assessing feasibility of ideas and establishing potential costs and resources that may be needed. The IT infrastructure in the Main Library is very complex and to underpin a lot of the on-going work, Thomas Tyrrell (IT Portfolio Manager) has worked with Sudlows to undertake a complete survey of the IT systems in the building.
The Alliance Manchester Business School MBA students are progressing well with their project in relation to understanding our Library user’s priorities in line with the proposed Redevelopment. They have been identifying opportunities that will allow us to ensure needs and demands are met or managed as necessary. Our discussions have helped me to understand what different levels of tolerance our Library service and users may have at different times of the year, particularly in relation to key academic periods. A project of this size will inevitably cause some disruption, but we are taking all possible steps to keep this to a minimum. Access to the building and services may be limited during the short transition periods between construction phases, so we are assessing when to schedule this work to occur at the quietest times of the year. The data analysis I am undertaking along with the MBA student’s work will help to inform these decisions.
We had a very interesting meeting with the Design Team, Michelle Sharples (Marketing and Communications Manager) and Steve Mccabe (Estates Designer) to better understand the overall design concept for the Redevelopment and how we can help drive and shape this. As we’re at an advanced period of Stage 3, we are now able to investigate and develop such ideas whilst adding further detail to aspects such as wayfinding/signage, bespoke joinery and internal finishes. We followed up this meeting with an internal discussion in order to look at the question “how should the identity of the Library and the University be reflected in the overall design concept?” We looked at how we will ensure that the concept reflects the messages we want to convey and will continue to work with the Design Team to refine and clarify this.
I attended my first Library Projects Co-ordination Group meeting on Wednesday. The group exists to track the development of Library spaces and Library-related teaching and learning areas across four Estates Masterplan projects: Coupland 3, Manchester Engineering Campus Development, Alliance Manchester Business School and the Fallowfield campus development. Each project is at a different stage and has its own context although with the involvement of the Library across all of them (to varying degrees), it’s important to ensure we are updated as various components of the projects are interlinked. The meeting was very useful and I have already arranged follow up meetings to look at the other projects in greater detail.
Thursday and Friday were very busy days, covering many aspects of the Redevelopment from examining the need for new map cabinets to delivering a presentation about the Redevelopment to students from the Manchester School of Architecture. I spent an afternoon with the Design Team and the contractors to look in finer detail at the construction programme and also caught up with Thomas Tyrrell (IT Portfolio Manager) to assess the current progress of the IT /AV aspects of the project.
Manchester City Council is currently developing The Manchester Strategy and is asking the question “How do we make Manchester the best it can be up to 2025?” As part of producing the draft strategy, they would like help by taking on board your views and ideas. If you’re interested why not feed back your thoughts? You can also share your views on social media using the hashtag #mydreammcr.
Finally, you might be interested in checking out Sporticipate, which is part of SPORT Manchester (the University’s sport service). There are lots of sport, health and wellbeing opportunities for staff and students throughout the year, with most of them being free.
I hope you’re enjoying the weather this week and here’s to a great weekend
Mike Kelly, Library Space Project Manager