DMU scoops RICS Award for transforming its campus with the community in mind

De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) is off to the national finals after winning a regional award for its ‘inspirational and innovative’ multi-million pound campus transformation.

The Mill Lane and Gateway Public Realm Project won the battle for top honours and scooped an East Midlands 2018 Award for Best Infrastructure Project.

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DMU's Mill Lane transformation project, which links the city to the river

The awards - regarded as the premier property and construction awards in the country - are organised by leading professional body, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

The £2 million newly landscaped Mill Lane area transformed a traffic-choked road into a stunning public space. It is now a public right of way, complete with gardens and seating, in the heart of the campus, which connects the city centre to the River Soar.  

Competition was tough with a panel of industry judges looking for the most inspirational initiatives and innovative developments that have a positive impact on the local community.

DMU’s successful project was celebrated at a sell-out regional awards ceremony at The Belfry in Nottingham on Thursday, May 3.

It has secured DMU a place to compete against other regional winners for the chance to be crowned the overall UK winner in their respective category and is in with a chance to win the ultimate accolade – Project of the Year. Students and staff will be keeping their fingers crossed for the RICS Awards 2018 Grand Final in London in November.

Umesh Desai, Director of Estates & Commercial Services at DMU, said: “Once again one of our amazing campus transformation projects has been recognised for the impact it has made on the campus and the city. 

“Working in collaboration with the City Council with a common vision can produce stunning results.”

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How RICS East Midlands announced DMU's win on Twitter

Judges carefully considered the merits of 25 of East Midlands’ most impressive and community beneficial property schemes in the regional RICS Awards.

The judges visited DMU and assessed the transformation project against set criteria.  They commented that the project ‘created an attractive communal space along a former public highway through the centre of De Montfort University’s campus in Leicester.’

They went on to praise the Mill Lane area for being transformed into an ‘attractive, usable and vibrant space with strips of bright green, punctuated by plant beds and budding trees forming striking spacious grounds.’

DMU’s transformation project also earned a double-page feature in The Winners Brochure with a quote from judges saying: “Universities are synonymous with being on a campus. De Montfort University was however, before this project, split in two, with a busy road running straight through its heart. This project run jointly by the University and Leicester City Council transformed the area, improving access into the city centre from the west as well as helping to create the University Campus.”

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DMU staff & partners on stage to collect the award at the RICS regional awards ceremony

Victoria Hampson, RICS Regional Director North & Midlands, said: “Every year the calibre and number of entries in to the awards continue to astound me and this year was no different.

“The shortlisted projects highlighted the varied range of disciplines within our profession as well as how this work impacts on our local communities.

“Our judging panel found shortlisting and deciding upon the category winners particularly tough.”

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DMU had received an impressive six nominations in the RICS East Midlands Awards. Other DMU projects that were shortlisted included the Vijay Patel Building and Castle Hall at the Leicester Castle Business School.

DMU’s buildings have been recognised for a long list of awards and accolades in recent months. This includes the Vijay Patel Building and the Mill Lane transformation winning ProCon Awards for Leicestershire. The Vijay Patel Building has also been named the best educational building in the East Midlands at the Local Authority Building Control (LABC) Awards, and the Leicester Civic Centre named Leicester’s best new building.

Posted on Wednesday 9th May 2018

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