North East News

1st New College for 14 years at Durham University

Durham University is creating its first new residential College in 14 years: South College, which is on track to open in 2020. South College is part of the University’s flagship Mount Oswald development, a project worth £80 million which will also include a new home for its existing John Snow College, a University Hub building and a multi-use games area (MUGA).

The project is part of the University’s ambitious ten-year Strategy, which represents close to £1 billion-worth of investment in people and facilities to ensure Durham is world-class in research, education and the wider student experience. 
Building work on South College began in summer 2018 and the College will welcome its first students in October 2020. 
The student accommodation buildings have now reached full height and today (Friday 11 October) University leaders, student leaders and representatives of Interserve Construction took part in a ‘topping out’ ceremony on site. 
Jeremy Cook, the University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Colleges and Student Experience); Professor Tim Luckhurst, Principal Elect of South College; Kate McIntosh, President of Durham Students’ Union; and Mark Gardham, Regional Director of Interserve, symbolically placed the final ballast. 
Mr Cook said: “Durham University combines world-class research and education with an outstanding wider student experience. 

“Our Colleges are a key part of this wider student experience and we are excited to be creating our first brand new College since Josephine Butler College was established back in 2006.

“These new facilities will benefit our students and also the local community, as we increasingly share our facilities with our neighbours and increase the proportion of our students living in Collegiate accommodation.”
Kate McIntosh, President of Durham Students’ Union, said: “Found a new College is fantastic and this is a huge landmark in the development of the project. The building is just one bit of what makes a College. We can now look ahead to what will be happening in this building. It’s those bonds, that sense of belonging, those friendships, that mean so many people stay in Durham, flourish in Durham and keep coming back to Durham.”
Mark Gardham, Regional Director of Interserve, said: “This topping out of the new South College marks yet another important milestone in the delivery of the Mount Oswald scheme and it’s fantastic to be able to showcase the great work that our team is undertaking on site.

“The Mount Oswald project is a key project for Interserve in the North East and we have been working hard to ensure that it benefits the local community, by retaining the local spend and creating new employment opportunities for local people.”
The Mount Oswald development will bring many benefits to the local community, including that the multi-use games area will be available for community use.
Interserve is using local suppliers where possible and is also running educational visits and work placement opportunities for local schools and colleges. On the project to date, £27 million has been spent within a 40-mile radius of the site, 15 apprentices have been employed, seven people who were long-term unemployed have returned to work and 65 students from local colleges have undertaken work experience placements. 
Interserve is keeping local residents informed of work on site via monthly newsletters and social media updates using #MountOswald. Local residents with questions can email: 
South College’s first Principal will be Professor Tim Luckhurst, an award-winning journalist for BBC News and Current Affairs, former editor of The Scotsman and most recently founding Head of the Centre for Journalism at the University of Kent and founder and director of KMTV, a local television station for Kent.
Professor Luckhurst said: “I am proud to be have been appointed as the first Principal of South College. I hope to make it a diverse and inclusive community where students can enjoy some of the best days of their lives. I want South to be warm, friendly and supportive – a community of learning and respect, but also fun. Above all, I want it to attract a diverse range of students from every possible background.

“As a 17-year-old in 1980, I had the life-enhancing experience of becoming one of the first students at a new college in an ancient university. The experience I gained as a pioneer there gave me the confidence to create and lead at home and abroad for the BBC, The Scotsman newspaper, as the founder of a new university department and a television station. I am determined that South College will offer similar and, perhaps, even greater opportunities to those who join me in shaping an inspiring new community.”