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Leeds student union to get £20m makeover

Leeds student union to get £20m makeover

The student union building at the University of Leeds will be completely refurbished after planning permission for the project was granted by city councillors.With a budget of £20 million, the plans include creating a southern entrance for the building, redeveloping the Riley Smith conference facilities, and adding a conservatory to the existing rooftop terrace bar, in the same style as the new entrance.The conservatory will provide winter seating for the popular open-air bar, and can also be opened up to extend the outdoor space when the weather is good.An Arts Quarter will be created within the building, and the performance spaces (including the underground Raven Theatre) will also be refurbished to provide a world-class space for student and professional acts that put on regular shows.The conditions of the planning approval mean that the work must be begun in the next three years, and samples of building materials must be approved by the council before they can be used.At present, the student union building is made up of four interconnected buildings, which contain offices, bars, performance spaces and a nightclub. The total floor space is 130,000 sq ft. With more than 24,000 undergraduates and 9,500 postgraduates, the University of Leeds is the largest further education institute in the city, and one of the country’s bigger universities.Students can also buy supplies, tickets for union events, and access essential services in some areas of the existing building.To make sure that the union can still provide necessary services for students during its upgrade, the construction will be carried out in three staggered stages, and is expected to finish in August 2017. As part of the planning application, the developers offered assurances that the refurbishment will offer a measurable improvement on the existing student union facilities, and will not disturb the harmony or aesthetic unity of the host building, the university campus and the wider Woodhouse Lane and University Precinct Conservation Area. 

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