Durham University secures £90m in finance to construct two new colleges

By Madeleine Horton

Two new colleges will be constructed by Durham University at a total cost of £105m, after finance was secured from the University’s partners.

The colleges will be constructed at Mount Oswald, on the site of a former golf course on South Road, and are due to open for use in 2020.

One of the new colleges will provide accommodation for students of John Snow College, which is being transferred from Stockton to Durham campus, and will include a 300-seat dining hall and sports and music facilities.

Accommodation will be created to house over 1000 new students in total. The other planned college is yet to be named.

The University currently operates 16 colleges with a student population of over 18,000. These new colleges will be the first to be opened since Josephine Butler college opened its doors in 2006.

The cost of construction is anticipated to be £85m, with the figure rising to £105m to include the cost of running the colleges for the duration of the contract period. The construction costs will not be met by the University.

University Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart Corbridge said: “The development of two college facilities at Mount Oswald, including one brand new College and a purpose-built new home for our John Snow College, is a key project in delivering a wider student experience as good as anywhere in the world.”

Fund and asset management firm Equitix, together with Interserve, an on-campus student accommodation and developer and operator Campus Living Villages UK, will design, build, finance and operate the two new colleges on a 51-year term.

Debbie White, Interserve’s chief executive, said: “We are delighted to have reached financial close on this project and look forward to starting on site imminently.

“This project builds on our extensive experience in the further education sector and our strong 15-year relationship with Durham University.”

The news comes as part of the University’s 2017-2027 strategy, which has caused upset among local residents.

The University has pledged to increase the student population to 21,500 by 2027.

Photographs: Durham University

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