Students Staff

30 January 2009

University plans to invest £250 million in building for the future

Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall

Providing modern, sustainable state-of-the art facilities and an enhanced student experience is at the heart of the University of Essex’s plan for investing £250 million in new buildings and campus improvements.

The University has agreed a Capital Investment Plan of £250 million over the next five to seven years. Investment in new buildings and facilities will take place across its three campuses at Colchester, Southend and Loughton.

The Capital Investment Plan involves 30 different projects. While some will depend on obtaining external funding, more than half are already in progress or at the preliminary planning stages.

At Colchester, a new £25 million student centre is planned, a landmark building adjoining the library to provide additional library, computing, teaching and learning space, plus a range of student services and facilities.

Significant investment will be made in Southend, where the University’s new campus opened in 2007, to support growth in student numbers. This will include building much-needed student accommodation, new studio and performance facilities for East 15 Acting School, and later in the period further teaching, office and academic space.

The student experience is the focus of further capital projects in Colchester, including improved sports facilities, starting with a £1 million fitness centre extension, improved catering facilities, a phased development of new student residences, and refurbishment and improvements to the 40-year-old fabric of the original campus. This will include new signage, improvements to the central squares around which the campus is designed, and cleaning of the concrete buildings.

New research facilities will be developed along with investment in IT infrastructure, including faster and more effective communications between campuses, and improved management information systems. New arts facilities will include an enhanced entrance, foyer, box office, bar and café for the Lakeside Theatre, costing more than £800,000. Other planned development includes refurbishment of Wivenhoe House Hotel.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Riordan said: 'Essex's position as one of the UK's leading universities has been confirmed recently with our top ten ranking for research quality, and our priority now is to invest in first class student facilities which will help us to attract the brightest and best and enable the University to grow and flourish. As we approach our 50th anniversary we need to continue to improve and develop the original campus to provide a sustainable environment with modern state of the art facilities that enhance the learning and life experience of today's students and staff.'

The Capital Investment Plan continues the significant investment in new buildings of recent years, and provides a long-term focus on creating a sustainable physical environment to meet current and future needs.

A loan facility of up to £100 million will underpin the plan, while capital funding will also be provided in grants from the Higher Education Funding Council for England and other agencies.

For further information please contact the University of Essex communications office on 01206 874377 or e-mail

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