Build-up to 2020: Durham University’s plans for new facilities

Durham University plans to open three new buildings in 2020, following their announcement in the Durham University Strategy 2017-2027.

To open this year are the Sports and Wellbeing Park (with no set date for official opening), a new Mathematical and Computer Sciences Building and South College (both set to open for the academic year 2020/21).

Altogether, the total cost of these three projects is just over £100 million.

All of this construction is a part of the Durham University Strategy 2017-2027. The Strategy is an ambitious document which identifies areas for growth and development with the larger goal of ensuring the University increases its wealth and reputation.

The Sports and Wellbeing Park in Maiden Castle has undergone a £32 million refurbishment. According to the University, “the facility will enable us to compete at the highest level of British sport”.

This work began in July 2017 and has exceeded its expected completion date of Winter 2019.

“The total cost of these three projects is just over £100 million.”

As a part of this project, Maiden Castle has been refurbished (a process which was completely finished by November 2019) and the Sports and Wellbeing Park is still in construction.

The new Park is to have “direct links to Durham city”. It will also “include state-of-the-art sports laboratories which will facilitate the transfer of Sport, Exercise, and Physical Activity” degree to Maiden Castle.

For their STEM investments, the University has invested in a £40 million Mathematical Sciences and Computer Science Building. It will provide “state-of-the-art learning, teaching, and studying spaces”.

The Mathematical and Computer Sciences building in its current state of construction.

Its construction began in early November 2018 and is due to end in September of this year. It will be located “on the University campus site at Upper Mountjoy”.

The purpose behind its construction is to develop the Mathematical Sciences and Computer Science departments, which the University as key areas for significant growth.

Their hope is that this building will aid in the effort to double the number of undergraduate students in each department by academic year 2026/27. They also aim “to increase the numbers of postgraduate students as well as academic and support staff”.

The completion of this building has also been significantly delayed. In the Durham University Strategy 2017-2027, they announce their intention to finish construction “by 2019”, yet is still under construction.

Most heavily advertised of the three upcoming facilities is the brand-new South College, set to open in the academic year 2020/21. 

South College under construction.

Located on Mount Oswald, this new college is a significant investment. The University has spent at least £27 million on its construction so far, and hopes that this will attract even more students to apply to study in Durham.

This is one of four to six projected colleges announced in the Strategy, all part of the larger bid to increase application numbers and national and international rankings.

It will set next to the new (and final) John Snow site, and undergraduates are being offered lower accommodation fees for becoming the first host of South College students.

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