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Gordon Brown hails ‘innovative’ residence

A flagship new student residence at the University of St Andrews, the most environmentally friendly in the country, was hailed as an ‘innovative’ development by the Chancellor Gordon Brown today (Friday 23rd February 2007).

Mr Brown was in St Andrews to formally open the £34.7m David Russell Apartments, which represents the largest construction project undertaken by the University. A three-year phased redevelopment, DRA is one of the most significant and ambitious residential developments ever undertaken by a UK university.

During the official unveiling, Mr Brown said, “I welcome the new state of the art facilities for students, the innovative approach to the design and environmental aspects of the accommodation continues to place the Fife university at the cutting edge of education throughout the world.

“I would congratulate St Andrews University on providing these first class facilities for their students and as someone who campaigned for improved facilities when a student, it lets me see how far universities have come in recognising the importance of providing quality accommodation”.

Described as ‘a benchmark for new student accommodation in the UK’, the new residence was developed especially to fit the needs of the 21st century environmentally conscious student. Situated outside the town centre, DRA provides energy-efficient accommodation for 920 students and outwith term-time serves as a popular three-star alternative for tourists and golfers. In 2006, DRA was the first university residence in the country to be awarded the Green Tourism Business Scheme’s Gold Award.

During the visit, Mr Brown dropped in to one of the student apartments and met with the third and second year students who live there. Following a tour of the facilities and official plaque unveiling, Mr Brown also visited the DRA bistro and met students and University representatives, including leading researchers in fuel cell technology and sustainable accounting.

University Principal and Vice- Chancellor, Dr Brian Lang, said: “We are very pleased to have Gordon Brown here to open David Russell Apartments. The development represents the culmination of three years hard work and a successful partnership between the University and a number of parties. We believe we have created in David Russell Apartments a benchmark for new student accommodation in the UK. The development not only outlines the University’s commitment to sustainability but is also an investment in our students, to provide them with the very best environment in which to live and learn.¿

The development forms a physical centrepiece to the University’s commitment to sustainability across its operational and educational activity. With environmental and conservation issues being key to both the design process and the current management of the buildings, the development consists of a series of independent buildings clustered around central facilities overlooking a man-made lake, which forms part of the sustainable urban drainage scheme.

Green features include a rainwater recovery system, a comprehensive recycling programme, high standards of thermal insulation, sophisticated building management controls and under floor heating. The entire development is enhanced by natural materials and light, and surrounded by high-quality landscaping, while the existing tree belt was preserved as much as possible.

Each four-storey accommodation block consists of self-contained apartments which boast five en- suite double bedrooms and well- equipped kitchen/sitting rooms. Forming a centrepiece to the development is a central facilities building which services students’ needs, providing its own bistro, bar, laundrette and shop. Uniquely, the building is topped by a grass roof, which acts as a heat insulator during the winter and a natural cooler during the summer months.

ENDS

NOTE TO PICTURE EDITORS:

PICS FROM THE STUDENT FLAT WILL BE POOLED AND AVAILABLE TO ALL BY ALAN RICHARDSON, PIX A-R. THE STUDENTS WHO MET GORDON BROWN WERE: Cody Desouza, Savindri Pramodya Talgodapitiya, Jennifer Ann Smith, Louise Masterton and Lisa Jackson.

FILE IMAGES OF DRA ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FROM THE PRESS OFFICE – CONTACTS BELOW.

Issued by Press Office, University of St Andrews

Contact Gayle Cook, Press Officer on 01334 467227 / 462529, mobile 07900 050 103, or email gec3@st- andrews.ac.uk

Ref: DRA opening 230207.doc

View the latest University press releases at http://www.st- andrews.ac.uk

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