A start date has been set for the construction of new campus residences that will house hundreds of Sussex students.
A shortlist of interested contractors for the North Field development has been drawn up and building work is due to begin in January 2010, with completion in time for the academic year 2011-12.
The development (at the top end of campus, north of Lewes Court) is divided into 14 houses, each with clusters of six single study-bedrooms. Each cluster contains its own communal living space - including kitchen and dining areas - and its own secure entry point and corridor.
In all there will be 744 study-bedrooms, 12 family flats and 21 studio flats. The buildings will radiate into the landscape like fingers, with groups of two- and three-storey buildings arranged around individual courtyards.
Charles Dudley, director of Residential, Sport & Trading Services, says: "The new residences will help meet the growing demand for high-quality en-suite rooms within a housing portfolio that offers choice and cheaper rooms for those who want to pay less for their accommodation."
In addition to the student accommodation, a reception building will house the site manager, launderette, mail room, larger common room, cleaners' and maintenance spaces, storage and ancillary spaces.
The complex has 272 secure bicycle parking spots (one for every three residents) and eight car parking spaces, four of which are for wheelchair users.
A number of energy-efficiency measures include green roofs (which increase insulation and provide greater biodiversity), low-energy lighting, double glazing and recycling facilities.
The new development has been carefully designed to suit the location at the edge of the South Downs. The site is currently grassland, designated for university development in the Brighton & Hove Local Plan. It is part of the overall master plan for the campus and is the last greenfield site within the permitted development zone.
Because the scheme is such a large one, staff in Estates and Facilities Management (EFM) will be working very closely with the contractor to minimise noise and disruption to students and staff.