Complete AV Solutions for Esther Simpson Harvard Style Lecture Theatre

Case Study:

Esther Simpson Building- Leeds Business School

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Brief

The Business School wanted to create a purpose built world class specialist space that would house postgraduates, negating the need for them to travel the length and breadth of campus to teaching environments/space. This required investment, providing a different type of teaching environment and space which would allow the school to deliver enhanced education to students with digital innovation acting as the main driver.

The focus of the building is on specialist teaching rooms and includes behaviour labs for students to reflect on performance; trading rooms to simulate trading platforms; and digitally rich teaching rooms which allow for internal and external participation. The teaching rooms will also provide a structured informal ‘engagement’ space to facilitate both student and staff collaboration.
Digital innovation within the building provides opportunities for the University to diversify in how it delivers content through Online Distance Learning (ODL), hybrid programmes, and digitally enhanced on-campus teaching.

The Esther Simpson building will act as the ‘heart’ of the Business School, a flagship space: versatile for events, showcasing the unique student opportunities at LUBS and some of the specialist teaching facilities.

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Services Provided:

Planning and Installation

Initially Universal AV were contracted as consultants to discuss the new build and specify the audio visual solutions to be installed and tendered for. As part of this process, campus wide teaching standards were taken into consideration alongside the collaborative teaching rooms the Business School had already pioneered. The specification provided allowed for solutions to innovate whilst being flexible for the future.

BAM were awarded the construction project and Universal AV tendered to carry out the audio visual integration under their guise. Work began on the Esther Simpson building in November 2019, with handover to the University in May 2021 and Teaching commencing in September 2021. Due to the pandemic this fell behind and the building was handed over in August 2021 with some teaching commencing at the end of September 2021. The building will be fully operational from February 2022.

Universal AV worked alongside the Business School and BAM in order to devise a schedule of works inclusive of first and second fix, with project management plans detailing which rooms were first priority for installation and programming as they were due to open at the end of September for teaching, with phase 2 rooms scheduled for teaching early November.

Tamsin Barrow, Facilities Manager, Leeds University Business School, commented; “I worked with a really good team both internally and externally. Decision making was supported throughout by BAM, DLA and Universal AV. Universal although working directly for the contractor ensured lines of communication were open throughout, they were always on hand to discuss any changes and change was no trouble, a can do attitude from all really helped the process.”

Inclusivity for all

The Esther Simpson building is fully accessible and the design of the building meets the criteria of the Equality Act 2010.
Special consideration has been given (but not limited) to the following:

  • Generous space centres
  • Fluid access for all, including wheelchair users
  • Suitable sanitary provision
  • Features to assist people with visual, hearing and cognitive difficulties find their way easily and safely.

More About The Environment and Technology

Lecture theatres
Harvard Style lecture theatre

This environment provides a wow when you walk into the room. It hosts a 240 seat horseshoe shaped lecture theatre with triple Panasonic projection. The lecture theatre is gently raked to give good vision for all users and each seat will turn 180 degrees to allow collaboration to take place with the person behind and to the side. Each seat will also have its own power supply and microphone to allow for multiple people to debate in the space. Lecture capture and live streaming solutions have been installed to allow for distance and flexible learning to take place.

Traditional lecture theatre

This is a 390 seat traditionally raked lecture theatre with triple Panasonic projection to the front. The seats are of an executive seating type and each will have its own power supply. Lecture capture and live streaming solutions have been installed to allow for distance and flexible learning to take place.

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Services Provided:

Flat Floored Collaborative Teaching Environments

Having previously pioneered these spaces in areas of the Business School the University developed a further 2 spaces. 1 x 100 seater Flat Floored Fixed Collaborative Teaching Space boasts Dalen Synergy’s with Panasonic Screens and a central teaching podium. The room allows for two way collaboration between the individual station and the academic. The second 100 seater flat floored flexible/interactive room has Clevertouch Screens so students can collaborate on the screen and showcase their work with the lecturer or the whole class if need be. The central teaching podium was devised with LUBS previously when academics felt teaching from the middle was more conducive to collaboration.

Seminar Rooms

Following a similar format the larger format collaborative teaching environments, LUBS have a further 2 x Fixed Collaborative teaching spaces utilizing the fixed format, 4 x Flexible/Interactive Collaborative spaces using the Clevertouch Screens, and 2 x Standard Ceiling mounted Panasonic Projection teaching rooms.

The teaching rooms will be a mix of collaborative and interactive styles. Some will have fixed furniture and some will have flexible furniture allowing for different styles of teaching.

Trading rooms

The Esther Simpson Building will benefit from having two 32 seat trading rooms. The primary trading room will be visible from the main reception area, showcasing in all its glory the features of the room. Having the trading rooms allows students to practice trading in a safe environment and use real time information. The room is vital for students to bridge the gap between theory and practice, giving students the opportunity to apply finance theories to decision making through real world scenarios.

IT Cluster

A 76 seater IT cluster teaching environment is located on the first floor. The high specification PC’s will allow for greater power and performance and will benefit modules that include PC based teaching sessions such as Analytics modules.

Behaviour Labs

The Behaviour Labs are divided into three areas, the data collection lab, the observation room and the boardroom.

Data Collection Lab

The University has full-time faculty members and PGR students who exclusively conduct experimental research and will benefit immensely from this lab. Other full time faculty members/students engaged with experimental or qualitative research will also gain the benefit from the lab.

Observation Room

The Control/Observation Room will accommodate a small group of observers and will be equipped to monitor and record the activities in the Boardroom through a one-way glass screen. This allows for people to monitor and review real time situations and gauge reactions.

Boardroom (Behaviour Lab 2)

A flexible space which can be used to create business scenarios. It will be used to study the dynamics of social interactions, leadership observations, or competitive tasks.

The room will be equipped with a projection point (to observe presentations or record them) and audio recording equipment (to enable recording of presentations). It will also have broader video recording equipment so that sessions can be recorded of the behaviours and presentations of people in the room. The recoding facilities will have zoom functions for that those monitoring can hone in on individuals from the observation area observing body language and listening to conversations.

Dr Helen Hughes, Associate Professor, LUBS commented; “The behaviour labs are a really exciting part of the Esther Simpson Building. I’m proud of the way colleagues from across the business school have come together in the design of them to make sure that they meet the needs of our entire community. These state of the art facilities place us at the forefront of the sector, enabling us to both develop innovative research designs, wiles simultaneously providing opportunities to enhance our teaching practices.”

Gareth Jones Student Boardroom

The traditionally set boardroom is on the third floor and has an occupancy of 18. It will enable students to host group meetings, practice their communication, presentation and persuasion skills and simulate the setting of a corporate boardroom. The room has 2 x Clevertouch displays installed and video conferencing facilities to allow for internal and external collaboration to take place.

Informal Areas

On the lower ground floor there is a communal breakout area which can be used for students to socialise. There are perch seats in some corridors and a small seating area above the central atrium space with acoustic booths and screens to dampen the noise from below.

Esther Simpson Building

“"We have built an innovative flagship building fit for the future. The technology installed is flexible enough to adapt to our future needs. Universal AV worked with us to ensure that this was possible and met our needs every step of the way. Nothing was ever too much trouble before or during the installation. They have been fantastic to work with.””

Tamsin Barrow

Leeds University Business School

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