A ceremony to signal the start of work on the University of St Andrews’ new student residence was held today (Tuesday 16 July 2002).
The new development at David Russell Hall (DRH), which will eventually replace the existing buildings, is part of the University’s continuing commitment to provide the best student accommodation system in the UK whilst delivering value for money for the institution, its students and vacation visitors.
The ceremony was performed by the University’s Principal and Vice- Chancellor Dr Brian Lang and Ian Smith, Divisional Director for Morrison Construction Limited.
After many months of design, planning and consultation, work is now to begin on the first phase of the project, the construction of the first 230 rooms with en suite facilities in five person apartments at the eastern end of the site. These are expected to be ready for occupation at the start of the 2003/4 academic session in September 2003.
The event was attended by nearly 100 guests including the design team and representatives from Morrison Construction, local residents, staff and students of David Russell Hall, local councillors, MSPs, planning officials, representatives from the St Andrews Preservation Trust and Community Council, University Court and Senate Members, student representatives and representatives from the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council.
The development, which will be phased over the next few years, 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. Morrison Construction, as the main contractor, are equally environmentally aware and will reflect this in their site management arrangements – for instance, much of the concrete from the demolition will be reused as material for the preparation of the ground for the foundations.
Welcoming the start of the works, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University Dr Brian Lang said, “The David Russell Hall development is an essential investment for the University as it helps us maintain the high quality of the facilities we provide for students. It also helps the University remain competitive and ensures that St Andrews continues to be regarded as a byword of quality.”
Meanwhile, Ian Smith, Divisional Director for Morrison Construction said, “It is entirely appropriate that Morrison Construction and the University of St Andrews, who share a reputation for quality and excellence and who are both widely- acknowledged as leaders in their fields of expertise, should be working together on the delivery of new student accommodation. The buildings have been designed to make people feel at home. The design breaks from a traditional layout, creating a high-quality multi-use environment – a first for the University. Morrison looks forward to developing a partnership approach together with the University on many future projects.”
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. Once redevelopment of DRH is underway, the University Court will also review the situation relating to the neighbouring Fife Park student complex.
NOTE TO EDITORS
The turf cutting ceremony will take place outside David Russell Hall, Buchanan Gardens, St Andrews at 3pm on Tuesday 16 July 2002.
Speeches by Dr Lang, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews and Ian Smith, Divisional Director for Morrison Construction, will commence at approx. 3.30pm, followed by the actual turf-cutting at approx. 3.45pm.
Please report to Claire Grainger/Gayle Cook/Katrina Keenan on arrival – mobile nos. below.
Morrison Construction is the building and civil engineering division of awg plc. For more information: www.awg.com.
Morrison Construction North East has constructed over 1000 student beds in Aberdeen in recent years.
Morrison Construction has also recently completed student accommodation for Portsmouth University on behalf of client, UNITE. The £7.6 million contract comprised 328 en suite rooms over 14 floors with a laundry and café located on the ground floor. For the same client, Morrison has also recently completed 176 bedrooms designed in cluster apartments for nursing staff in Woolwich.
Issued by Beattie Media on behalf of the University of St Andrews For more information please contact:
 Claire Grainger, University Press Office – 01334 462530, 07730 415 015 or email cg24@st- andrews.ac.uk
 Katrina Keenan, awg plc – 07736 333901 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ref: turf cut/standrews/chg/12july2002