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18 June 2007 PR 07/82

All systems go for new campus student accommodation

Construction of 1,300 new student bedrooms for the Loughborough University campus will begin this week. The £68 million accommodation project is being developed in partnership with the University Partnerships Programme (UPP) - the country’s leading university partner in student accommodation.

The project will be the largest single estate investment made by the University and has been undertaken using a structured finance solution, which allows the University to manage the accommodation, whilst it is owned and serviced by UPP. This long-term partnership will allow the University to release capital for investment in other areas of the institution, whilst also providing first rate on-campus accommodation, a considerable asset in attracting future students.


The new accommodation will be built on the site of an existing car park on the north side of campus. Three new halls for undergraduates and one new hall for postgraduates will be built. The overall development will be a mix of four and five storey buildings, arranged around a courtyard to identify the individual halls. The halls will be provided with self catering facilities but two of the halls will include flexible packages for the nearby restaurant and social centre.

UPP has considerable expertise in student residential accommodation, having committed well over £700 million of funding to the Higher Education sector since 1997 and with a portfolio of rooms in excess of 16,000. UPP has also attracted sufficient third party institutional investment to provide finance for projects totalling around £900m over the next five years.

The architect of the scheme is David Morley Architects and construction will be undertaken by leading UK contractor Laing O’Rourke. The first tasks will be to undertake diversions of existing utility services and place more than 15km of augered piles – enough to stretch from Loughborough to Leicester - to provide solid foundations for the new buildings. The actual buildings themselves will start to take shape before Christmas when pre-fabricated concrete panels will start to arrive on site. The panels, with door and window openings already in place, will be fitted together like a big jigsaw to create the bedrooms and flats. Bathroom pods will also be factory made and will be positioned in each room as works proceed.

Two halls will be ready for their first students in October 2008, with the third taking students in January 2009 and the fourth in October 2009.

Shirley Pearce, Vice Chancellor said: “We are delighted to have completed all the negotiations for this exciting project and we look forward to a successful construction phase.”
“We are looking forward to seeing the final product,” commented Union President Gemma Godfrey, “as a lot of hard work and dedication has been invested into this project and the Students’ Union has been kept part of the consultation at every stage, ensuring that the very best accommodation is provided to our students.”

Sean O’Shea, Managing Director of UPP, said: “This is the first time we have partnered with Loughborough for the development of residential accommodation. Since the University was voted ‘Best Student Experience’ at the 2006 Times Higher Awards, we are proud not only that this is a new partnership but also that we will be working together to develop an environment that is already setting the standard for UK universities.”

ENDS

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Notes for editors:

  1. University Partnerships Programme (UPP) provides an innovative solution to the development, ownership and operation of university student residential accommodation. UPP aims to be the first choice private sector provider of asset and infrastructure based services to universities and their students.
  2. UPP is owned by its highly experienced working management team and the Alma Mater Fund, a joint venture partnership co-managed by 3i and Barclays Private Equity. The Alma Mater Fund, formed in 2003 and co-managed by 3i and Barclays Private Equity, seeks to meet the increasing funding requirements of the Higher Education sector in the provision of residential accommodation.
  3. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    In the 2006 National Student Survey, the University gained a top five place, with nine out of

    Loughborough’s 23 departments topping their subject tables. Loughborough was also placed 6th in the 2007 Times Good University Guide and was named winner of the 2006 THES award for the UK’s Best Student Experience. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

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