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Ground-breaking ceremony for new student village

Professor Michael Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Sussex, current student resident Vita Obeng and David Swarbrick, Managing Director of Balfour Beatty, break the ground to officially mark the start of construction word

Student Vida Obeng, a current East Slope resident, was a special guest at the ground-breaking ceremony.

Vida Obeng with (l-r) Geoff Grant, Balfour Beatty; Allan Spencer, Sussex; David Swarbrick, Balfour Beatty; the Mayor of Brighton & Hove, Pete West; Michael Davies, Sussex; Maureen Chowen, High Sheriff of East Sussex; and Graham Hill, Balfour Beatty

VIPs from the University of Sussex and Balfour Beatty pose with the project team for the University’s new student village

A group of VIPs officially marked the start of construction work on a new student village in a ground-breaking ceremony at the University of Sussex yesterday (Wednesday 17 May 2017).

Professor Michael Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University, and David Swarbrick, Managing Director of Balfour Beatty Investments, were joined by the Mayor of Brighton & Hove, Councillor Pete West, and Maureen Chowen, the High Sheriff of East Sussex, at the site at Falmer.

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.

A current East Slope resident, Vida Obeng, was a special guest at the ceremony.

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.”

David Swarbrick, Managing Director of Balfour Beatty Investments, 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 town houses and flats
  • Communal areas such as kitchens, common rooms, laundry space
  • Secure cycle parking for every resident
  • A new Students’ Union building
  • New students’ facilities

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’ 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/October 2018, with all work due to be completed by 2020.

-          Ends –

Notes for editors

Media enquiries

Alex Fulton or James Hakner | University of Sussex | +44 (0)1273 678888 | press@sussex.ac.uk

Vivienne Dunn | Balfour Beatty | +44 (0)203 810 2533 | Vivienne.Dunn@balfourbeatty.com 

Images

High-resolution photographs can be downloaded from https://we.tl/r0mx2WGf7C.

Captions:

  • ES GB-12.jpg: Professor Michael Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Sussex, current student resident Vida Obeng and David Swarbrick, Managing Director of Balfour Beatty, break the ground to officially mark the start of construction work on a new student village
  • ES GB-18.jpg: Vida Obeng (seated) with (l-r) Geoff Grant, Balfour Beatty; Allan Spencer, Sussex; David Swarbrick, Balfour Beatty; the Mayor of Brighton & Hove, Pete West; Professor Michael Davies, Sussex; Maureen Chowen, the High Sheriff of East Sussex; and Graham Hill, Balfour Beatty
  • ES GB-22.jpg: VIPs from the University of Sussex and Balfour Beatty pose with the project team for the University’s new student village
  • ES GB-26.jpg: Student Vida Obeng, a current East Slope resident, was a special guest at the ground-breaking ceremony 

About the project

At £197-million, the financing of the project represents the largest UK wrapped inflation linked bond, post the financial crisis.

The construction team includes a full-time environmental manager to ensure that the building complies to the highest environmental standards.

For more information, visit: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/about/campus/campus-development/campus-development-student-residences

About the University of Sussex

Founded in 1961, the University of Sussex is among the leading research intensive universities in the UK. Ranked in the top 20 for all UK League Tables, it also rates highly in international rankings.

The University of Sussex has more than 16,000 students and 2,500 staff, from more than 120 countries. The University has counted among its faculty three Nobel Prize winners, 13 Fellows of the Royal Society, six Fellows of the British Academy and a winner of the prestigious Crafoord Prize.

International in its outlook and interdisciplinary in its approach, Sussex is based on a single campus designed by Sir Basil Spence, in rolling parkland between the seaside city of Brighton and Hove and the South Downs National Park. Sussex research tackles major world issues, with leading areas of expertise such as climate change and development studies.

About Balfour Beatty

Balfour Beatty Investments is a global infrastructure investor operating in the UK, US and Canada. We provide the investment capability to deliver complex infrastructure projects. Over the past 22 years, Balfour Beatty Investments has established itself as one of the largest investors in the PPP industry, building a portfolio of 69 projects worldwide, predominantly in the UK and North America.

In recent years, Balfour Beatty Investments has diversified into new markets including student accommodation, private rental sector housing (multi-family housing in the US) and generation and transmission of renewable energy. We have recently expanded our approach from a PPP contractor to a broader developer and investor.

Balfour Beatty is developing a leading position in the higher education market, delivering a broad portfolio of infrastructure projects. These include student accommodation, academic facilities, arenas and other campus projects. Working with various universities, local communities and local supply chains, Balfour Beatty delivers high quality, sustainable accommodation that enhances the student experience, whilst also offering full-service residential property management. Clients benefit from the close working relationship between the investment, construction and management service teams, meaning Balfour Beatty can offer customised solutions for each college, university and their students.

Our current portfolio comprises student accommodation projects in the UK and US, providing 6,248 beds across 11 projects. These include the £63m University of Edinburgh Student Accommodation and Outreach Centre, a 50-year project which will be the focal point for the university’s community-based teaching activities and continuous professional development courses. The project was recently awarded three awards: Best Student Housing (CUBO Awards 2016), University Halls of Residence (Property Week Awards 2016) and Student Accommodation Development of the Year (Scottish Property Awards 2017). In the US, our portfolio includes a $110m recreation, residential and retail development for Florida Atlantic University, which is a 10-year project to provide two student housing spaces called Innovation Village Apartments. Current projects also include the University of Sussex’s £120m East Slope project which is part of an investment programme to modernise and improve the University’s campus, providing more than 2,000 new bedrooms as well as a new Students’ Union and social facilities. We are also providing contemporary accommodation for over 1,000 students and enhancing the learning and communal facilities as part of a £45m project at Aberystwyth University. 


By: James Hakner
Last updated: Friday, 19 May 2017

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