LJMU takes delivery of £64.5m Copperas Hill project

Construction firm Morgan Sindall has handed over the keys to the new LJMU Student Life and Sports Buildings on the site of the former Royal Mail sorting office in Liverpool. Tony McDonough reports

Copperas Hill
Liverpool John Moores University development at Copperas Hill


Builders have handed over the keys to a new £64.5m university development on the former site of Liverpool’s main postal sorting office.

Main contractor Morgan Sindall began work on the Student Life Building and Sports Building for Liverpool John Moores University in April 2019 and now the project, next to Lime Street Station, is complete and ready for use at the start of the 2021/22 academic year.

Copperas Hill was home to the large Royal Mail sorting office on the three-and-a-half-acre site for decades until its closure in 2010. The old building was demolished in 2017 and LJMU stepped in with a plan to regenerate the site.

The five-storey Student Life Building will house a range of services, including advice and wellbeing, careers advice, international exchanges, an area for individual and group study, the Students’ Union (JMSU) and general teaching spaces.

At two-storeys, the Sports Building will offer facilities such as an eight-court sports hall, two multi-purpose halls and a gym. The development has also created attractive public open spaces, benefitting the local community as well as students and staff.

Professor Ian Campbell, Vice-Chancellor of LJMU, said: “This major development is a key element of our estates masterplan through which we have invested in state-of-the-art new facilities and the refurbishment of existing buildings in our estate.


Copperas Hill
Liverpool John Moores University new Sports Building
Copperas Hill
LJMU’s Student Life Building will offer a range of services


“Our priority is to provide our students with an outstanding experience during their time at LJMU and these new facilities will provide the perfect environment for study, research, sports and fitness and to access the wide range of support we offer.

“Copperas Hill will help to connect our City Campus and Mount Pleasant Campus and we are proud to be playing such a key role in regenerating this area of our city. I’m looking forward to welcoming our students and staff to Copperas Hill later this year.

“We appreciate the collaborative work of Morgan Sindall Construction and the whole client and contractor team in delivering this project on budget at a challenging site and through an unprecedented period with the pandemic.”

Throughout the project, Morgan Sindall and the university have worked in tandem to ensure the scheme had maximum impact on the regional economy and the educational prospects of local students. 

Almost half of Morgan Sindall’s 1,398-strong project workforce was newly recruited from the local area, in addition to its staff already employed by the company based in Liverpool and the surrounding areas.

Guest lectures and input into attendance panels were provided in order to help Liverpool John Moores University students benefit from the presence of a leading contractor at their university.

Richard Potts, Liverpool area director for Morgan Sindall Construction, added: “It’s always a proud moment to hand over a project to a client, but especially so when your work has had a real impact on the community in which you work. 

“At a time when the economy has taken an unprecedented hit as a result of the pandemic, our commitment to driving social value on every aspect of our work at Copperas Hill has resulted in a skills and learning legacy that will benefit the city for many years to come.”

The pre-contract design team was led by Faithful+Gould following procurement through Pagabo’s Professional Services Framework. The university also utilised Pagabo’s Major Works Framework to appoint Morgan Sindall Construction to deliver the full build.

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