Completion of new student residences

Wednesday 16 July 2003

University of St Andrews Principal Dr Brian Lang today (Thursday July 17th 2003) formally marked the completion of the first stage of one of the most significant and ambitious residential developments ever undertaken by a UK university.

Dr Lang officially opened Phase One of the new student residences at David Russell Hall, a £27 million project to provide state- of-the-art accommodation for 743 University of St Andrews students.

The three-year project – funded by the University’s largest ever capital investment – involves demolition of the existing buildings at David Russell Hall and their replacement with a series of independent buildings clustered around central facilities overlooking a man-made lake.

Phase One provides 230 rooms at a cost of £7.3 million and has been completed on schedule almost exactly a year to the day that the first turf was cut on site by University officials and representatives of the contractor, AWG.

The new five-person apartments comprising rooms with en-suite facilities are expected to be commissioned and ready for occupation by students at the start of the new 2003/4 academic session in September.

Work is now scheduled for the second phase of the DRH development which awaits planning approval. This will require the demolition of the existing 1960s structures and in their place the provision of new build accommodation utilising the latest concepts in building design and management.

The new residences will ensure that students have access to modern, high quality and well- equipped accommodation. Critically, the development will also present an opportunity to provide adapted accommodation for students with special needs.

Dr Lang said: “We have one key aim and responsibility at St Andrews – to nurture world class minds.

“That is a process which demands that the environment in which our students live and study is life enriching and conducive to learning.

“I believe this major project at David Russell Hall to be an essential investment for the University and one which ensures St Andrews continues to be regarded as a byword for quality.

“In the completion of this first phase, we have set a benchmark for new student accommodation in the UK. I hope and suspect that where St Andrews has led, others will now follow.”

David Downie, Regional Director for AWG Construction Services, said;

“A year ago we celebrated the start of construction work on the first phase of the David Russell Hall project. Working closely as part of a team with the University of St Andrews, AWG Construction has now delivered accommodation which sets new standards. We look forward to the next phase of this ground breaking project, with a continued commitment to delivering quality and value.”


The opening ceremony will commence in the Strachan Suite, David Russell Hall, Buchanan Gardens, St Andrews at 2.30pm on Thursday 17th July, 2003. Speeches will be made by Dr Lang, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews and David Downie, Regional Director for AWG Construction Services, and will be followed by a tour of the development. Please report to Niall Scott / Gayle Cook / Katrina Keenan on arrival – mobile nos. below. University Press Office – Niall Scott 07711 223 062 / Gayle Cook 07900 050 103 Katrina Keenan – AWG – 07736 333901

******** The David Russell Hall re- development will be enhanced by high-quality landscaping and the preservation of as much of the existing tree belt as possible, complementing the informal theme of the scheme. There will also be a central facilities building, comprising a bistro, shop and launderette, together with communal facilities. In a bid to help achieve the University’s long- term aim of reducing car use among students, parking facilities will be complemented by improved cycle storage and the creation of a cycle path alongside Buchanan Gardens. Facilities for pedestrians are to be upgraded and there is also to be a dedicated under-cover point for a shuttle bus to collect and drop off passengers to and from the town centre.

Through the University’s involvement with the Forum for the Future and Hospitable Climate initiatives, it is acutely aware of environmental responsibilities and will embody these in the design of the residence.

Natural materials have been used on the exterior of the building including natural stone, cedar panelling and timber framed windows. Natural light has been utilised to full effect to reduce the requirement for artificial lighting. Sophisticated building management controls have been specified which allow remote monitoring and control of the heating and lighting to improve efficiency and to be responsive to residents’ requirements. Underfloor heating has been selected to reduce energy consumption further and, together with the exceptionally high insulation levels, will provide high levels of resident comfort. A grey water system has been incorporated into the design to reduce water consumption by using stored rain water to supply the toilet cisterns. Much of the concrete from the demolition will be reused as material for the preparation of the ground for the foundations.

The plans to redevelop DRH follow a feasibility study which was carried out in response to views which the University had received from its students, staff and vacation visitors, together with its assessment of the impact of standards dictated by new legislation relating to student accommodation. The University’s design team have visited similar developments and potential suppliers throughout the UK and Europe to determine the most appropriate specifications for fixtures and equipment. The new development will ensure that students have access to modern and well-equipped accommodation and the latest information technology facilities. The development will also present a unique opportunity to provide adapted accommodation for students with special needs. Such are the standards of this accommodation that it will also appeal to vacation visitors seeking high standards and value for money.

After the completion of phase one in the summer of 2003, demolition of part of the original 1960s buildings will commence to create space for the next phase. During this period, the overall capacity in use will not exceed that of the original residence. Finally, the remaining buildings will be demolished to allow the development to be completed. The final capacity will be in excess of 700 bedspaces, representing an increase of over 200.

Issued by Beattie Media On behalf of the University of St Andrews Contact Niall Scott on 01334 462530, mobile 07711 223 062 or email [email protected] Ref: DRH pic call 150703 View the latest University news at

Category Student experience

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