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10th October 2018

Introducing the MECD

As one of the single largest construction projects undertaken by any UK higher education institution, the Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD) will be the new home of University of Manchester engineering students from four different Schools
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Introducing the MECD
Photo: Mike Turner of England @ Flickr

The University has set out its ambitious vision for the new Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD) project.

It’s investment in world-class research, teaching, and learning will provide modern facilities in a “bespoke environment” as well as spaces for both staff and students that will allow them to lead the way in the use of innovative technology and working practices.

Another aim of the MECD is to preserve Manchester’s identity of being a home of pioneers, led by discovery. The new, vibrant, and consolidated engineering hub will reflect the pride Manchester has in its rich academic and civic heritage. It will be a welcoming environment for the community and be a destination where “revolutionary science is visible to all.”

Funding for the project is part of the first phase of the University of Manchester’s £1 billion ten-year ‘Campus Masterplan’. The build of the MECD will eat up a £300 million chunk of the investment and will be the new learning home of 7000 engineering students. This moves their studies from the University’s North Campus located on Sackville Street to the Main Campus on Oxford Road, allowing them to join students belonging to most other courses.

The MECD will be great in size (76,000 square metres, to be exact) to allow room for four Schools, two research institutes, the Faculty Offices, study lounges and a range of centrally-timetabled teaching spaces. To put that into perspective, it will have floor space of eleven football pitches, stretched across eight floors.

Naturally, a detailed project timeline has been set out. The build is scheduled to take six years, but designing began as early as 2014. Initial construction commenced in late 2016, and by mid-2018 the first MECD core had reached full height. The skilled workers behind the MECD over this time has entered the thousands. At peak construction periods the project will employ a workforce of a 1000. Many of whom are Manchester locals being trained by the University itself through its Works Programme.

When the MECD is complete it will be open to students at a location besides the Manchester Aquatics Centre, on the site bounded by Grosvenor Street, Upper Brook Street, and Booth Street East. Housed in the site will be the Schools of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science, of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, of Materials and of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering.

Also to be introduced to the campus will be The Dalton Nuclear Institute, supporting nuclear professionals with expertise, training and facilities. The International Centre for Advanced Materials (ICAM) will allow students to be on the very same premises as leading fundamental and applied research aiding the oil and gas industry. Project completion is due during 2021, after which the existing engineering campus, including sites such as North Campus’ Sackville Street Building, will be decommissioned as a teaching facility.

The University has invited anyone to be involved in this historic build and significant contribution to the world’s engineering research infrastructure. Listed on the University’s website is a call to “share your memories of your time studying engineering or working on the North Campus on (its) heritage boards,” to be displayed along the walls of the MECD, and an ask for people to share their ideas of what they would like to more generally see in the building upon its opening.

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