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Solid foundations

Campus spotlight: Keele University has ambitious plans for its future growth and development

Posted by Hannah Oakman | February 29, 2016 | Facilities management

Keele University was founded more than 60 years ago on the belief that it met the demands of a new kind of society, economy and world, principles that resonate now more than ever

Nestled in 600 acres of countryside in the heart of the UK, many Keele students, and a number of staff live, as well as study and work, on campus. It is a big campus but a small and cosmopolitan community. It operates on a human scale, providing people the space to think and plenty to do, with a vast array of clubs, societies, activities and volunteering opportunities. 

It successively ranks at the very top of student satisfaction surveys. This is because it is more than green and lovely; it is a place of research and academic excellence too. Whether it’s Health, Humanities and Social Sciences or Natural Sciences, whatever the area of study, Keele delivers a unique and international learning experience.  

Its degree programmes and foundation years have always been distinctively challenging, flexible and foster a broader based knowledge. Its interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approach doesn’t just underpin a great education but powers its world-leading research. All of which also means it delivers greater impact and value from its research and teaching, globally as well as locally.

It’s little wonder the students and alumni are as individual as the University itself: progressive and accomplished, clear about who they are and what they want to be, equipped to meet some of the big challenges the world today presents, for the good of society and enterprise.

Additional offering 

Added to that is the success Keele enjoys as a top conference and events venue, while the Keele University Science and Innovation Park is one of the leading developments of its kind.

Most recently Keele’s position among the global elite was underlined by a table which placed it among the 200 most international universities in the world. Times Higher Education compiled a list of the topmost international universities using the ‘international outlook’ indicator from the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, in which Keele was ranked among the top 4% of the world’s leading universities.

We are on the verge of becoming a major location for research and technology-led companies regionally, nationally and internationally, and that can only be good for the university and surrounding area as a whole

. Whilst being rooted in its locality, the University is international in outlook and character and in the reach and impact of its education and research programmes. It is committed to making a difference in society by providing innovative, high-quality education for students from all backgrounds and by undertaking world-leading research that transforms understanding and brings benefit to society, communities and individuals.

State-of-the-art spaces 

Keele also aims to deliver state-of-the-art learning and teaching spaces and an enhanced student community through reconfiguration of its student accommodation.

An exciting new multi-million pound development is underway at Keele’s Huxley Building to meet student demand for Life Sciences courses and advance research. The £10m development will provide two teaching laboratories, capable of hosting 120 students and two research laboratories.

With student numbers expected to increase, Keele is investing in its campus accommodation with two new high-quality, sustainable halls of residence.

In response to student demand, the development, close to the centre of campus, will feature en suite rooms with study zones and clustered bedrooms so that kitchen and lounge spaces are shared by 6-8 students. The Barnes Hall of Residence will include large, open-plan social spaces comprising fully fitted kitchens, dining and lounge areas. 

The School of Pharmacy has opened a new, state-of-the-art, pharmacy practice suite, helping the University produce the next generation of pharmacists. The new suite includes a mock dispensary and seven consultation rooms complementing the University’s existing virtual reality training programme.

One of Keele University’s most iconic buildings from the 1950s has undergone a £2.1m transformation to create flexible modern spaces for teaching and learning to serve up to 450 students. 

And work is nearing completion on IC5, a multi-million pound innovation centre. 

It is the first new facility of its kind to be built on this scale in the area for 10 years, thanks to a partnership between Staffordshire County Council and Keele University. The £7m centre will provide 30,000 sq ft of office and workshop accommodation and is expected to create 130 jobs via the growth of existing business and inward investment from international companies relocating to Staffordshire.

It is the fifth development of its kind on the University’s Science and Innovation Park and is located on an established site for future development. Outline planning for this site has been approved for 13 plots of land, with businesses and other partners being offered the opportunity to develop bespoke buildings from 13,000 to 940,000 sq ft. 

Dr Mark Bacon, Director of Engagement and Partnerships at Keele University, said: “The Science and Innovation Park has developed an outstanding reputation, with its first-class facilities and prime location leading to every one of our existing properties being in great demand since the first phase opened in 2001. To develop our campus further, we have a number of plots adjacent to the existing park that are ready for development.  

“We are more than just a Science Park – we are on the verge of becoming a major location for research and technology-led companies regionally, nationally and internationally, and that can only be good for the University and a surrounding area as a whole.”

Flexible facilities 

Whilst last year was a fantastic time for Keele University Conferences & Events as thousands of conference and events guests flocked onto the Staffordshire campus, the conferences team is looking forward to utilising the brand new teaching space on campus, expanding the selection on offer.

Christine Page, Head of Sales in the Events team at Keele, said: “We are seeing a real trend in terms of demand for English Language Summer Schools here at Keele, and the flexibility of our facilities coupled with the addition of more available teaching spaces this year is a big step towards meeting this demand.

“Diversity of service and availability is something we pride ourselves on at Keele, and the soon-to-be completed overhaul of the sports facilities is another step in the right direction, demonstrating our growing ability to host events that are more varied than just traditional conferences and meetings.”

A £1.7m redevelopment of the Sports Centre, set to be completed in April, includes a brand new
full-size 3G synthetic football pitch and a re-configuration of a section of the tennis court area to provide courts for basketball and beach volleyball – new facilities that are a key area of consideration in terms of marketing towards new business for 2016.

Keele University Conferences & Events also offers a range of additional services to clients, and this is something that the team are keen to promote. Christine adds: “When you are choosing to host a conference at a venue, be sure to ask what dedicated support the venue can offer. 

In the case of Keele, this would include a full conference management service to assist in your conference planning.”

In the last 12 months, Keele University Conferences & Events achieved silver in the Green Tourism Awards for their commitment to sustainable practice, and become the first Midlands academic venue to gain a Compliant Venues Healthcare Accreditation.  

The future certainly looks bright for Keele’s students, staff and community.

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