PRINCE William and Kate Middleton celebrated the opening of the University of Manchester’s new engineering campus last Friday.
The £350 million campus will be one of the single, largest construction projects undertaken by any higher education institution in the UK.
The Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD) will be located next to the Manchester Aquatics Centre and will fit on the site bounded by Grosvenor Street, Upper Brook Street and Booth Street East.
The University of Manchester campus will provide a range of modern facilities in a bespoke environment, to support research, teaching and learning in the 21st century.
Patrick Hackett, Project Manager of Manchester Engineering Campus, said: “We will provide spaces which our staff deserve and students expect; leading the way with innovative technology and working practices.
“The project is set to reach completion in early 2020.”
At around 11am on Friday, hundreds of anxious faces lined up, awaiting the royal arrival of William and Kate.
International students, residents and workers of Manchester gathered together to share the excitement, ready for William and Kate to arrive at 2pm.
Facing The National Graphene institute, the building site area was surrounded by police and security. Greater Manchester Police covered the area using motorbikes, cars and horses. The University of Manchester also supplied a security team that maintained a safe environment.
Joseph Thomas, Head of Security at The University of Manchester, said: “This is a high security event. All areas are being taken care of, in order to assure that the royals are in welcoming but safe hands.”
Upon their arrival, Will and Kate were greeted by Nancy Rothwell, the vice chancellor of the University of Manchester. They were then taken on a tour of The national graphene institute and the world’s first graphene car.
While on site at the university, the Duke and Duchess sealed a time capsule and unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the occasion.
The capsule and plaque will then be displayed within the building once construction is complete.
Patrick Hackett said: “Our new engineering campus will reflect pride in our rich academic and civic heritage, whilst showcasing our ongoing advancement in research and education.”
It was a day of celebration for a university responsible for outstanding scientific achievements.
From Rutherford splitting the atom to the isolation of graphene almost a century later, the University of Manchester has certainly had a successful past in engineering.
The construction of MECD therefore is set to develop the engineers, scientists and innovators of tomorrow.