The University of St Andrews is to sanction investment of over £70 million in student housing in a move which will provide 900 additional bed spaces and refurbish large areas of its existing residences.
In an outline Accommodation Action Plan published this week, St Andrews confirmed it is to move ahead with plans for a major new residence on the site of Albany Park, extend its residences at Fife Park, University Hall and Agnes Blackadder Hall and carry out refurbishments and improvements to other residences.
In total, the Action Plan will increase the number of university-managed student bedrooms in St Andrews from 4000 to 4900. The works will have a total price tag of £70 million, but will be funded by equity-release schemes with private sector partners.
This will ensure that St Andrews does not have to divert scarce resources from its world-leading teaching and research to fund a longstanding commitment to provide additional student bedrooms.
St Andrews currently has 8200 students. It already provides more accommodation per head of population than any other university in Scotland.
Student leaders, who have worked closely with the University’s Residential Services team on the detailed proposals, have welcomed the ambitious plans. A range of rents will be available, and substantial bursary and support packages are in place to assist with costs.
Director of Residential and Business Services, Ben Stuart, said: “We’re excited to be able to move ahead with this wide-ranging programme which will provide the single largest expansion of student bedrooms in St Andrews for over a decade.
“Finding accommodation in St Andrews is perceived by some students to be a stressful challenge, when the reality is that there are often sufficient rooms and choices available.
“By publishing our Action Plan and commitment to expand and improve our student residences and the range and choice available, we hope to offer important reassurance to current and future students.
“We are also fulfilling a commitment to the town that wherever possible we would provide modern, university-managed accommodation for students to lessen the pressures on the private housing market in the centre of St Andrews.”
Students’ Association President, Pat Mathewson, said: “This move is a testament to the University’s ongoing commitment to delivering the outstanding experience our students and graduates cherish.
“Furthermore, it demonstrates the effectiveness of our close partnership between staff and student leaders in tackling our community’s biggest challenges.”
The new build and improvement works will be carefully phased between now and September 2019 to avoid any shortages during decanting.
The University has pledged close and continuing dialogue with students as refurbishment, extensions and new builds proceed.
Details of the Accommodation Action Plan are as follows:
Fife Park Phase 2
Building to commence in summer 2016 with a completion date of September 2017. There will be an additional 196 rooms, comprising standard and ensuite cluster flats similar in style to the existing Fife Park buildings.
Currently being refurbished and due for completion by October 2016. It will offer accommodation to postgraduate students in a mixture of 2 to 5 bedroom flats. This will then offer 15 bed spaces of mixed, standard and ensuite accommodation.
Old Wing – University Hall
There will be a reduction of 89 bed spaces in the academic year 2016/17 to allow for a refurbishment of this building to bring it up to current electrical standards. The plan is to have this building ready for occupancy in September 2017. During the refurbishment every effort will be made to provide an alternative social space for the students.
Angus and Stanley Smith Houses
There will be a full refurbishment and upgrade of kitchens and bathrooms from September 2016 within these buildings and also to provide flats suitable for disabled access. This will reduce the capacity by 23 and is due to be finished by June 2017.
Currently Albany Park is home to 333 students in a mix of postgraduate and undergraduate accommodation. It is likely to be demolished or partially demolished from June 2017.
Construction will be in two phases with Phase 1 due to be completed by September 2018. Phase 2 is due for completion by September 2019. The new accommodation will be a mixture of standard and ensuite bedrooms in different configurations from studio to townhouses. Social spaces are planned within the Albany Park accommodation area.
University Hall Annex
Due to start building in early 2017 and the extension to be completed by August 2018. It will offer around 220 bed spaces in corridor style accommodation and a mixture of ensuite and standard. This will offer the option for some catered students in the existing dining room. There are plans to offer social spaces within the new building/annex.
Agnes Blackadder Hall
Due to start building in early 2017 and to be completed by August 2018. This accommodation will offer around 180 additional bed spaces and be similar in style to existing Agnes Blackadder Hall rooms. These rooms will be offered on a self-catered basis only.
Andrew Melville Hall
Andrew Melville Hall will close for refurbishment in May 2017. It will offer modern accommodation from September 2018 and will be in the same room configuration and capacity as it is currently.
The refurbishment is to provide essential electrical upgrades and refresh the fabric of the building. Also included in the plan is the modernisation of the catering facilities within Andrew Melville Hall, including the dining area.
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Ref: Accommodation Action Plan 04032016Student experience