March 24th, 2023
Blog piece by Castle Meadow Campus Programme Director, Jason Phoenix
Stewarding a programme as significant and complex as establishing a new university campus brings a multiplicity of challenges but equally as many rewards.
Achieving approval from University Council for our plans for the Castle Meadow Campus is a major milestone and as Programme Director I have been reflecting on my experiences and the excellent progress we have made to date over four key stages to start bringing the campus to life.
STAGE ONE: Discovery – determining the scope for Castle Meadow, the resource we require and building the delivery team.
The biggest challenge for me coming into this programme was the sheer size of the task at hand and the complexity of its moving parts. With such a highly anticipated new campus comes the weight of expectation for what it could be – and I found that CMC meant many things to many people.
This was the first thing I needed to resolve; I had to make sure the CMC vision and offer was compelling, realistically deliverable and in line with the university’s strategic priorities. As a result, we now have a clear vision for the campus that is easy to understand and relate to.
During this stage, I was privileged to set up a new delivery team selected for their skills, experience and capability. The programme will run over several years and we have developed a great team to deliver against these long team priorities.
STAGE TWO: Engage – making sure I engaged with as many colleagues as possible and collating insights and feedback.
In this stage of the process, it was important for us all to consider what we want and what we need – as a result, we took the useful feedback and ideas collected across a number of consultative events and conversations with a broad range of university staff last year. I then met with key stakeholders to define and agree on the programme outputs, making them realistic, tangible and deliverable. We needed to be strict with what was in and out of scope and in doing so to meet as many expectations as possible.
A key highlight during this stage was engaging the Department of Architecture & Built Environment to assist with creating designs for CMC. Not only have they played a key part in the upcoming designs of our campus, they have now also added CMC into the heart of their curriculum, running a design project to create 3D models of CMC, and producing some fantastic replicas.
We are currently working with Departmental staff and students to create a dedicated space to work alongside our partners and contractors during the design and construction phase to translate their theory into practice.
STAGE THREE: Plan – mapping out the programme milestones, establishing the Castle Meadow experience for all users and forecasting the costs.
The sheer size of the programme and all of the component parts in setting up a new campus and their dependencies need to be handled delicately. It is not only Castle Meadow we must consider, but also the impacts on other campuses.
We understand that CMC is an investment and as such, the team are making sure that every penny we plan on spending is thoroughly challenged and reviewed, ensuring we get the best value for money from our suppliers and partners as well as making the most out of the space in each building.
I am delighted to say that one of the biggest milestones of the programme was achieved this month at University Council, when they gave their full authority and mandate for the CMC vision. This makes me feel hugely proud of the work the team have done to drive this piece of work over the last five months and, doing so, it gives us a great foundation to build on over the next few years.
STAGE FOUR: Execute – deliver on our plans and deliver lasting benefit for the university and Nottingham’s economy; creating jobs, growth and prosperity.
Now we can begin to really deliver our plans for CMC in what promises to be an extremely fulfilling, and occasionally daunting, process. This stage includes everything from hiring contractors to begin the design and construction work, establishing partnerships with key industry leaders and local businesses, identifying where CMC can provide opportunities for postgraduate educational experiences, to helping facilitate and engage in civic priorities within the city.
There is lots to be done and, through each key milestone, we will need to work in an agile way, continually reviewing our processes, re-adjusting our goals if we need to and ensuring that everyone is kept up to date with how we are progressing.
As the work continues, I want to ensure that every member of our university community has opportunity to see the new campus site and keep up to date with its exciting developments.
Please look out for a new programme of staff tours of CMC and a new website which will keep you up to date with the latest news and developments over the coming months.
In the meantime if you have any questions or would like to hear about something specific in our future updates, please get in touch here, I would very much welcome your feedback.
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