Heslington East Campus, University of York

Project: Heslington East Campus, University of York

As early as 1617 permission to establish a university at York was recorded, although it would take another 343 years before university status was to be granted in 1960. Opened 1963 and located in three historic buildings the new University had just 230 students. In less than 50 years York has become one of the top ten universities in the United Kingdom for teaching and research with more than 15,000 students.

During the 60’s and through to the late 90’s the University of York went through a phased development establishing eight Colleges and other facilities on their Heslington West site. To maintain its high rank status as one of the top universities in the world, the University authority decided to upgrade and expand to meet the national higher education agenda and help drive the regional and local economy.

In addition to improvements to the existing Heslington West Campus, a 117 hectares site just East of the existing facility was to be developed.

The new £750 million, 65 hectare Heslington East Campus is now well underway with phases 1 and 2 already commissioned, although it will be 2020 before the approved Master Plan nears completion.The development so far includes; The Ron Cooke Hub Building, four new departmental buildings – The Catalyst, Law & Management, Computer Science, Theatre, Film & Television, two colleges – Goodricke and Langwith including student accommodation and a sports village. The new buildings on the East Campus are designed in clusters, each cluster being separated from the next with a sensitively designed landscaped green space. A roadway and paths connect each cluster with the next and the Heslington West Campus.

Being situated to the South of the Badger Hill residential area and Kimberlow Hill with its views of York Minster, the Heslington East site slopes away gently from these hills down to the flat lands of the Vale of York.

One of the tasks architect’s Building Design Partnership (BDP) were asked to accomplish by the University, was to produce a plan that would be environmentally sensitive to the local geography. This meant any Sustainable Urban Drainage Scheme had to prevent rainwater from roofs and hard surfaces cascading uncontrolled to flatter land beyond the site’s boundaries. As part of the scheme a lake was created along the southern boundary of the development.

With the East Campus site being quite flat, deep drains were not possible so rainwater from roofs, road and pathways had to be directed in a series of culverts, surface drainage channels and rills, eventually discharging into the lake. Hauraton FASERFIX® channels were chosen to create the culverts and surface drainage between the building whilst RECYFIX® SLOTTED channels with their unobtrusive galvanised slot inlets were specified for the pedestrian routes and concourses.

The Sustainable Urban Drainage Scheme, devised by Arup  Limited, included the control of rainwater from roofs via downpipes into a series of buried, stepped shallow culverts made from two sizes of FASERFIX® SUPER channel fitted with solid ductile iron covers. Surface water drainage with ductile iron gratings were provided in the same channel runs where channels crossed paved footpaths or asphalted areas. Pairs of FASERFIX® SUPER 300 channels fitted with solid covers were also installed adjacent to each other in the rills to create tunnels under roadways and paths.

Hauraton FASERFIX® channels were specified because of the large, standard sizes available. The channels are made from the company’s Reinforced Fibre Concrete (RFC) which allows for the easy cutting, without breakage, of mitres and the holes required for the many downpipe access points. FASERFIX® channels also feature the company’s SIDE-LOCK boltless grating/cover fixing system which allowed for quick fitting of these components. For example, 10 metres of grating or cover can be fitted in about 70 seconds.

Colin Taff, Hauraton‘s Project Engineer comments about the project, “There have been over 1900 metres of Hauraton drainage channel installed so far in this project by Howard Civil Engineering Limited. They were please to report no breakages of Hauraton components, even during necessary mitring and hole cutting in the FASERFIX® channels”.