First new college in 14 years set for 2020 opening

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Building works at South College, Durham University’s first new residential College in 14 years, have been “topped off” as student accommodation blocks reached their full height.

The college is set to welcome students in October 2020, after construction began in Summer 2018.

The college aims to acquire around 120 Durham students from other colleges to help set up their JCR (Junior Common Room), as well as the college’s values and ethos.

Principal-Elect of South College, Professor Tim Luckhurst, told Palatinate that students will be offered a ‘pioneer scholarship’ with a £500 reduction in college rent for those who wish to move college.

The aim of the scholarship is to incentivise current students who wish to support incoming first-year students to join South College’s new community.

Professor Luckhurst has the responsibility of setting up the College community which he hopes will be a “collaborative” project with the new college members to create the college motto, shield, and ethos.

Students will be offered a ‘pioneer scholarship’ with a £500 reduction in college rent for those who wish to move college.

Professor Luckhurst has experience in pioneering a college community; whilst an undergraduate at Cambridge, he had “the joy of going to a new college at an ancient university and taking part in creating its traditions, its societies… I really want to bring some of the excitement and pioneering experience that I enjoyed as an undergraduate and hopefully inspire that at South College.”

Professor Luckhurst is also an award-winning journalist for BBC News and Current Affairs, editor of The Scotsman, and most recently the founding Head of the Centre for Journalism at the University of Kent and a director of KMTV, a local television station for Kent.

“I want South to be warm, friendly and supportive – a community of learning and respect, but also fun.”

With this wealth of experience, he hopes to make South College a “diverse and inclusive community where students can enjoy some of the best days of their life.

“I want South to be warm, friendly and supportive – a community of
learning and respect, but also fun.”

They have also proposed to the current college JCR Presidents if they would reprise their role at South College in 2020/21. Four JCR presidents have reportedly expressed interest.

The self-catered College will consist of 498 bedrooms all with kitchen, living and dining room facilities. There will be four different types of ‘pods’, some as townhouses which will have 12 bedrooms over 3 floors, each with ¾ beds and built-in furniture.

A sample room from one of the Townhouses

The operations team has already been outsourced to ‘Campus Living Villages’ who will provide the porters for the college.

The University held a ‘topping out’ ceremony for South College on Friday 11th October to mark that the student accommodation buildings have now reached their full height.

In attendance were leading University Pro-Vice Chancellors, the Interserve Construction Executive, the South College President-Elect, and the Students’ Union President.

Mark Gardham, Regional Director for Interserve, announced at the ceremony that this was a “key milestone” and that construction was currently “on track for its September 2020 opening”.

South College is part of the University’s flagship Mount Oswald development, a project worth £80 million which will also include a new home for its existing John Snow College, a University Hub building and a multi-use games area (MUGA).

The project is part of the University’s ten-year ‘Estate Masterplan’, which represents close to £1 billion-worth of investment in buildings and people.

This is to “ensure Durham is world-class in research, education and the wider student experience.”

Jeremy Cook, the University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience) said: “Durham University combines world-class research and education with an outstanding wider student experience. Our Colleges are a key part of this wider student experience and we are excited to be creating our first brand new College since Josephine Butler College was established back 2006.

“The Mount Oswald development will bring many benefits to the local community.

“These new facilities will benefit our students and also the local community, as we increasingly share our facilities with our neighbours and increase the proportion of our students living in Collegiate accommodation.”

Mr Gardham stated: “The Mount Oswald is a key project for Interserve in the North East and we have been working hard to ensure that it benefits the local community, by retaining the local spend and creating new employment opportunities for local people.”

“The Mount Oswald development will bring many benefits to the local community.

“Interserve is using local suppliers where possible and is also running educational visits and work placement opportunities for local schools and colleges.

“On the project to date, £27 million has been spent within a 40-mile radius of the site, 15 apprentices have been employed, seven people who
were long-term unemployed have returned to work and 65 students
from local colleges have undertaken work experience placements”

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