Words by Jasmine Crowhurst, News Sub-Editor
A new student centre is currently being built on campus as part of an initiative to transform the student experience at the University of Sussex.
The new student centre will open in Spring 2022 and aims to become the heart of the student life at Sussex.
Construction company Balfour Beatty will work on the final fit out of the centre in the last week of January 2022.
The centre is located at the bottom of East Slope and will be a focal point for Sussex students on Campus. The centre is designed to be a welcoming, inclusive, and comfortable space for students to meet, learn and relax.
The landmark new Student Centre is a significant building project and aims to be the go-to place for students to access face-to-face information, advice, guidance and services when it opens in Spring 2022 in the second part of the 2021-22 academic year.
The Student Centre is in a primary location for students, as the centre is situated at the heart of the student residential area in East Slope making it a prime social and working space for students across the Sussex Campus.
An unlicensed café will form part of the development, as well as five new retail units near the front entrance. Housed in the distinctive arches to the left of the building’s entrance, these spaces will facilitate new shops on campus for students to access.
As well as offices for staff, the centre’s facilities will include multi-purpose learning spaces for individual and group study, a double-height performance and event space, rooms for confidential meetings, and access to an outdoor courtyard.
The outside courtyard area will feature a covered area to allow for year-round use and a range of different seating. The area will also have an ambient atmosphere and water feature, with sympathetic planting.
The multipurpose spaces will feature state of the art flexible workshop, exhibition and meeting spaces designed to hold a capacity of up to 150 people. Spaces will be temperature controlled, AV and IT equipped and include relaxed waiting areas.
The centre will incorporate a blended office space where connectors can work alongside staff, aiming to promote collaboration and co-creation. There will also be 36 confidential rooms designed to reflect the local surroundings.
There is a strong focus on wellbeing, so sustainable materials were considered in the design. This can be seen in details such as using upcycled and vintage furniture in key areas and ensuring the building has eco credentials.
The space is being designed to be flexible so that it can be used in different ways at different times across the academic year. The project is part of the University’s focus to develop in the future and improve the student experience for those studying at Sussex.
Information about the new student centre including building plans and artistic impressions of what the completed project will look like has been displayed in the library and around campus. The University is encouraging students to give feedback on the building’s design and its proposed uses.