Work has started on building 2,000 student homes on the Sussex University campus at Falmer with a ground-breaking ceremony in the past week.
Among those taking part were the university’s pro-vice chancellor (research) Michael Davies, postgraduate student and East Slope resident Vida Obeng and David Swarbrick, managing director of Balfour Beatty Investments, the university’s construction partner for the project.
They were joined by Maureen Chowen, the High Sheriff of East Sussex, and Councillor Pete West in one of his final engagements as mayor of Brighton and Hove.
The university said: “The new development will triple the amount of student housing on the East Slope site from around 600 beds to more than 2,000. A new Students’ Union building and student amenities will also be located in the village.”
Professor Davies said: “This is an exciting milestone in our plans to deliver an outstanding university experience for all our students.
“A key part of this is giving more of our students the opportunity to live on campus in high-quality accommodation and providing a fantastic, purpose-built new home for our Students’ Union.
“It’s great to see this work get under way.”
Mr Swarbrick said: “This event marks the start of construction of the East Slope Residences project and a significant milestone in our partnership with the university.
“This partnership allows Balfour Beatty to bring to the project its extensive experience in the design, funding, construction and operation of high-quality accommodation which will contribute to the student experience while at university.
“We look forward to seeing the transformation of the East Slope site and to welcoming students to the first phase of additional accommodation which is expected to be ready for the start of the 2018-19 academic year.”
The development includes
• 2,117 student bedrooms to replace 590 outdated units built in the 1970s
• A mix of townhouses and flats
• Communal areas such as kitchens, common rooms and laundry space
• Secure cycle parking for every resident
• A new Students’ Union building
• New student facilities
The university said: “The new student facilities will accommodate a huge range of activities – study, socialising, events and mobilising volunteers. Around 1,000 Sussex students take part in volunteering activities every year.
“The new buildings have been designed so that they respect and enhance the vision of the campus’s founding architect, Sir Basil Spence.
“Maintaining the features of the unique landscape setting within the South Downs is at the heart of the university’s plans.
“The development was granted planning permission in August 2016. The first phase will be ready around September to October 2018, with all work due to be completed by 2020.”