What does the future hold for our campus?

With campus set to undergo yet another round of redevelopments, which parts are left out of the plans?

Mark Sleightholm
12th March 2018
The Urban Sciences Building under construction in April 2017. Image: Mark Sleightholm

The redevelopment of Cochrane Park is almost ready to begin, with Henderson Hall’s New Hall set to be demolished as part of this project. Since the effectively brownfield land will be unsuitable to use as sports pitches this area is likely to be used for car parking, but Old Hall has a less certain future.

No longer wanted as student accommodation because it is so far away from campus, the building is currently empty and the University is currently considering what it could be used for.

Question marks also currently sit over the Stephenson Building and Castle Leazes, both of which are nearing the end of their natural lives and could be next to be replaced.

With the Stephenson Building the problem is likely to be finding temporary teaching space to accommodate all the displaced students. Castle Leazes could be more problematic, as one of the largest accommodation sites and being located on the Town Moor. Freemen of the City have rights to use the Town Moor and so any redevelopment of Castle Leazes will require careful negotiation with them.

Meanwhile the design of the Hadrian Building is almost universally hated, and with the Students’ Union pressed for space this is another possible location for future developments.

Concrete angles: multiple revamps have done little to improve the Hadrian Building's appearance. Image: Mark Sleightholm

During these planned developments, it is predicted that the Boiler House, currently reserved purely for conferences and functions, will be temporarily used for teaching purposes in order to free up space for building across the university.

However, it’s not all rosy when it comes to these plans.

One thing which the university continues to refuse to include in its plans is a swimming pool, despite multi-million pound investment into sporting facilities. The lack of a pool will continue to affect water based sports clubs who will continue to struggle with both training and fixture organisation in the years to come.

The increasing sprawl of campus across the city is also potential cause for concern. Since 2005 there have been no sports facilities at the heart of campus, while computer science and business students now find themselves on the wrong side of St James' Park. With students so scattered it's little wonder, then, that the Students' Union is struggling to entice students into its bars or to vote in its elections.

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