TRIBUTES are being paid to a construction expert who was instrumental in transforming the University of Essex’s Colchester campus.

Andrew Nightingale, who died last week, led the estate management team at the university for more than two decades before his retirement in 2012.

During his time at Essex, Mr Nightingale helped transform the Colchester campus, established new campuses in both Southend and Loughton, and championed links with surrounding communities.

Iconic projects completed under his leadership included the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall, which won Civic Trust and Royal Institute of British Architects awards.

Vice-chancellor Professor Anthony Forster said: “The university has lost a very dear colleague and friend, who throughout his time at Essex worked tirelessly to ensure staff and students could thrive in the built and natural environment of our campuses.

Gazette: Missed - Andrew Nightingale Picture: University of EssexMissed - Andrew Nightingale Picture: University of Essex

“Andrew had an impressive strategic grasp of how our estate could support our mission, a sharp eye for detail, and an infectious sense of humour.

“Reflecting the highest regard our community had for Andrew and the impact of his work, he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship in 2014 and it was a pleasure for me to meet him at university events and share his pride in our achievements. We will miss him enormously.”

When he arrived at the Colchester Campus from the University of Kent in 1989, Essex had fewer than 4,000 students, the Rab Butler building was just being designed and the first four of The Houses student accommodation were being built.

A chartered building surveyor, Mr Nightingale led key projects to significantly extend student residential accommodation and to deliver new academic buildings.

Gazette: Campus - the University of EssexCampus - the University of Essex

Registrar and secretary Bryn Morris added: “Andrew was an outstanding colleague and made a huge impact on the development of the University.

“His commitment to the careful stewardship of Wivenhoe Park provided students and staff with an inspiring environment in which to study and work.

"I know that everyone who had the privilege of working with him will share a deep sense of sadness and loss with Andrew’s family.”

A statement from the university added: “At the time of his retirement, he reflected: ‘To have been the custodian of such an historic estate is fantastic’.”