February 10, 2016 | Simon Jenkins
Decades of piecemeal alterations have left the building in need of a thorough refurbishment that fulfils the today’s needs, makes better use of the space and maintains its role as the central hub of campus activity. The catalogue of improvements, which will transform the entire building and impact on every single student, includes the following key features:
Riley Smith Hall
This much-loved venue, home to the largest stage on campus, needs a significant refurbishment to update the worn and damaged seating, balcony and stage. A new floor, better seating and acoustics; access, lighting and ventilation – along with comfortable retractable seating that will increase its capacity by 25% will transform the Riley Smith into a fabulous modern performance and events space.
In the 1960s and 70s, this intimate underground “theatre-in-the-round” was host to dramatic productions, political debates and musical concerts. Since then it has gradually fallen into disrepair and out of use. Reviving this space as the focal point of a new Arts Quarter in the union building will create a much-needed space for meetings, rehearsals and performances.
In 2015, Leeds was named entrepreneurial university of the year, recognizing the support we give to students to develop their business ideas. The Market Square will take this to the next stage, offering a purpose-built space where students can establish pop-up stalls to showcase their products and their entrepreneurial spirit. Your support could be the key to turning a great business idea into reality.
The Union’s south entrance is used by hundreds of students on a daily basis, yet is one of its most unloved features. Rebuilding this entrance will provide a stunning new design feature that is interesting, eye-catching and much more accessible for students with disabilities. Designed to provide an abundance of natural light, it will be the perfect place to study between classes or catch up with friends.