This month work will begin on the £17.8 million building project where Arts D and E as well as the Russell Building used to be. A brand new 8000m2 academic building is to be built, boasting the biggest lecture theatre on campus that will have a seating capacity of 500. The new building will house the School of Law, Politics and Sociology and that of Business, Management and Economics.

The project is due to be completed in April 2012.

For the project, the University of Sussex has chosen Morgan Sindall, a construction and regeneration group, who have already worked on several projects for the University.

Morgan Sindall area director, Richard Watts, said: “this is our ninth project at the University of Sussex, having recently completed a new teaching block also at the Falmer campus.”

The building project aims to be as environmentally friendly as possible. According to the university’s website, 98% of materials from the late Arts D and E buildings will be recycled, and the Russell building has already been sold and given to a new owner.

Louisa Way from the Estates Division explained that the university “bought the Russell building when it was already second-hand and now it’s on to its third owner.”

The new building will also comply with the university’s environmental approach, including such features as a sedum-covered roof and rainwater harvesting.

The Arts D and E buildings were becoming a burden, both in terms of high maintenance costs and insufficient space. Their destruction and replacement by better facilities appears to be part of what the Pro-Vice chancellor for Teaching and Learning, Professor Clare Mackie, says is the university’s “long-term strategy for top-quality facilities that will enhance the teaching and learning environment for our students and academics.”

Bramber House is also having a large makeover. The catering facilities on the ground floor and the first floor are being refurbished and enhanced. Both will offer a greater variety of food services including a coffee bar and made-to-order sandwiches/rolls.  The first-floor Downs restaurant will more than double its seating capacity, raising it to 250. Work has already started, and is set to finish by the end of summer term 2011.

The newsagents, Martin McColl, the Post office and Baguette express will remain open until the Easter vacation in 2011.

The third-floor conference centre will continue to fulfill its purpose; hot food will be served at lunchtimes in the third-floor terrace room to fill in for the Downs restaurant. The Housing Office and launderette have relocated to Park Village.

The university insists that the aim for this £9 million project “is to create new and innovative facilities with a contemporary feel: flexible space with a broader range of catering services to meet the requirements of all customers, including students, staff, conference delegates and visitors.”

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