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Estates and Campus Services Update – July

From refurbishment, improving our environmental impact and the latest on our travel plan, read this edition of the Estates and Campus Services update to find out more.

Mercantile House Refurbishment

Improving the working environment within Mercantile House has continued with the replacement of all the windows, completion of the first new lift and work starting on the ground floor entrance and external space. The removal of the scaffolding has revealed the newly painted exterior of the building.

The work on the ground floor will see the creation of a new welcoming reception area, externally there will be storage for some of the services located in the building as well as two disabled spaces and secure parking for over 80 bicycles. Work is due to be complete at the beginning of August.

New optometry clinic

Work is underway to create the University’s new state-of-the-art Eye Clinic which will offer free eye tests for local residents, staff, students and alumni.

Hoardings can be seen around the site opposite Mercantile House as Kier Construction work with us to fit out the building ready for the clinic to open its doors for the first time this autumn. You can register for a free appointment at

University House refurbishment of floors 1 and 2

Refurbishment of the Finance and HR departments to create an improved open plan working environment with increased occupancy is underway with the work on track for completion this autumn.

Halls applications opened early this year

To support student recruitment activities, the student housing team opened the halls applications process early this year, in January. This has resulted in over 3,000 allocations to halls already being completed and sent out to new students, much higher numbers than we would normally be dealing with at this time of year.

The team also provide lots of advice and support on private sector accommodation options in the city with online tips and local information available through our housing portal with links to a good supply of student rooms and houses registered for advertising through our Studentpad website.

A series of house hunting events will also take place throughout the summer with a housemate matching service, transport to view properties and help and advice available all day from the Student Housing team to support students as they start their University journey.

Environmental sustainable lighting for new signs

At night you will start to see some of our University signs illuminated and we made sure these have been replaced with the latest technology in LED lighting. This has improved the environmental impact of each sign with the use of less than 97 watts per sign in a long lasting LED lighting solution.

Construction partners achieve awards

Congratulations to Kier Construction for achieving a Gold and Brymor Construction Ltd for Bronze at the Considerate Constructor Awards this year.

Kier achieved Gold, for working in partnership with the University of Portsmouth to refurbish the west dental clinic last year. As part of the project 26 dental chairs were gifted to a charity for use overseas.

Brymor won a Bronze Considerate Constructors Award, for the highest levels of consideration towards the public, its workforce and the environment through adhering to the Scheme’s five-point Code of Considerate Practice.


Latest reduction in plastics by catering

Taking on strategies to remove unnecessary plastic and packaging from coffee shop and other catering areas has already seen the introduction of new thermal mugs and a bring your own mug to meetings option added to catering requests.

The team has now replaced all plastic cutlery with bamboo. The environmentally friendly features of bamboo are the main reason why bamboo utensils are becoming extremely popular. Bamboo is technically a grass and can be cut without killing the plant. When you remove grass it doesn’t die – it continues to grow. This makes bamboo a highly renewable, eco-friendly resource. Bamboo grows faster than any wood and can be grown and harvested without the use of pesticides. The utensils are light and 100 percent biodegradable.

The next alternative plastic items the team are investigating are cups and cup lids, while also continuing to work with suppliers looking at further ways to reduce the use of plastics.


Congratulations to George Heir, Interim Head of Residential Services who has been elected Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality for his professionalism, personal contribution, commitment, support and promotion of the Institute’s aims and values over the years. George was presented with this prestigious award at the annual Fellows Dinner on 9 April at The RAC Automobile Club, London. George receives his certificate of Fellowship from Stephen Kyjak-Lane FIH, chairman of the Institute’s Supervisory Board.

Travel plan update

We are currently finalising the University Travel Plan, which will support the planned work in our Estate Masterplan.

As part of this, the car parking policy is being reviewed in conjunction with a potential pilot park and ride scheme and review of the bus service and related discount schemes.

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