Durham University reveals £50 million project for new science building

By Clara Gaspar

Durham University has revealed its plans to build a new £41.9 million Mathematical Sciences and Computer Science building, as well its plans for infrastructure development.

This will be part of Durham University’s 10-year expansion plan, which aims for an increase in student numbers of around 5,600 by 2027.

Building work is expected to begin in September of this year and be completed by September 2020. The intake of Mathematical and Computer Sciences students is set to double over the 10-year period, from 800 to 1,600 students. The new building will accommodate for this increase.

Professor Patrick Hussey, ProVice-Chancellor of Maths and Computer Sciences, has said that the new building will be “student-centric” with study spaces and an innovation hub for student societies.

The developments are also set to double staff numbers by 2027.

He told Palatinate that in the past four years applications to Computer Science courses at Durham University have tripled.

He said: “At the moment, we turn away so many high-quality A-star students.”

Prof. Hussey added that the current building is not suitable for students: “It does not have modern teaching facilities and doesn’t even have areas where students can congregate and study.”

He stated that the building will “provide a home for people to come together and talk tech.”

Karl Southern, a second-year Computer Sciences student, told Palatinate: “I’m pleased that we now have a new building that will provide room for our rapidly expanding department, with staff numbers now set to increase and I hope that this will allow for us to expand the range of modules that we offer.”

The University has also proposed the construction of a new pedestrian walkway to the East of South Road which aims to ease congestion on the road itself.

Path improvements will be made between South Road and Elvet Hill Road, which will improve access for students at Trevelyan college.

The University said that “the creation of the new route will be achieved through widening existing paths” and “constructing new paths”.

In addition, there will be a second entrance for cars to the Mountjoy site via Hollingside Lane.

A new carpark of up to 250 spaces is also proposed at Upper Mountjoy, which will cancel any loss of existing spaces lost elsewhere in the Estate Masterplan.

Meanwhile, Durham County Council is looking to alleviate pedestrian traffic on Church Street by widening the pavement to three metres wide in places, thereby reducing the width of the road.

This development will be confirmed after a consultation with the local community in around two months’ time.

This would affect parking spaces on the street, the relocation of a bus stop and proposed changes to the Boyd Street junction.

Amelia McLoughlan, president of Durham Students with Disabilities Association, told Palatinate that it is crucial that the University takes accessibility into account in their planning of new buildings and pathways.

McLoughlan said: “The University is going to undertake big changes, and they should employ personnel to organise accessibility.”

She added that “If Durham is going to advertise the Durham Experience, then they need to make sure it is an inclusive experience.”

Residents have repeatedly expressed frustration with the expansion plans. A community forum held last month saw over 200 people gather together to scrutinise the plans puts forward.

One resident at the forum commented: “It is safe to say we’re angry. We are angry about this word ‘ambition’ and the greed.”

Professor Stuart Corbridge told attendees at the event that the University would need to “digest” the frustrations aired.

Photograph: Durham University

7 Responses

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  1. nemo
    May 03, 2018 - 09:58 AM

    “A new carpark of up to 250 spaces is also proposed at Upper Mountjoy, which will cancel any loss of existing spaces lost elsewhere in the Estate Masterplan.”

    …but not provide extra capacity. Given that it took me two hours to park a car on Upper Mountjoy earlier this week, this fills me with neither enthusiasm nor confidence

    Reply
    • Evan
      May 03, 2018 - 11:37 AM

      Good. If we want to deal with congestion, pollution and climate change, then adding more car parking spaces is not the way forward. They should be restricted to those with disabilities or who actually need them for other very specific reasons.

      Reply
      • Staff
        May 04, 2018 - 09:46 PM

        And how would you expect the staff to get to the university when the live all across the region. There is no public transport infrastructure to most of County Durham.

        Reply
        • nemo
          May 14, 2018 - 10:03 AM

          Exactly. Initiatives like Greenspace are welcome, and necessary, but they simply cannot address the realities of an employer of the University’s size having staff that commute from Tyneside, Teesside, and places even further afield. For these people, walking or cycling to work is simply not an option, especially if you want to attract high quality staff. Neither is living here, because was we all know, Durham is not a cheap place to find a home. And that gives us another subtle clue as to why the local populace is not exactly brimming with enthusiasm at the University’s expansion plans.

          Reply
      • Biil Bryson
        May 18, 2018 - 03:20 PM

        How would you suggest the staff get to work?

        Reply
  2. Evan Airey
    May 03, 2018 - 11:13 PM

    “Digesting” local residents frustrations. Ignoring? But eith extra bite?

    Reply
  3. Vin diesel
    May 10, 2018 - 10:41 PM

    They need more than 250 car parking spaces. More buildings more staff more cars at present after 9 is like a scene from from one of the fast and furious as people drive round desperately looking for one. Why not get one of the maths boffins to calculate a suitable amount required .

    Reply

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