The new building, scheduled to open in 2014, will provide a permanent home for the China Centre group who are currently scattered around the university, and will provide accommodation for St Hugh’s students.
The China Centre includes over 40 academics of various disciplines who all have research and teaching interests related to China.
According to the St Hugh’s website, the plans for the building include over five floors, and contain a new lecture theatre, library, two language laboratories, four seminar rooms, and close to 70 offices, all of which will be used by both the college and China Centre. The building will also house 63 bedrooms, allowing St. Hugh’s to accommodate many of their post-graduate students.
The new building will be named after Mr Dickson Poon, who donated half of the £20 million total cost to build the project.
Sara Polakova, the JCR president of St Hughs said the majority of St. Hugh’s students had reacted positively about the project, realizing that the China Centre “is a unique opportunity for Hugh’s in terms of access, academia, accommodation for our students and attracting researches of the highest calibre.”
While most of the current students will not be able to enjoy the benefits of the completed building, Polakova said: “I am still proud and honoured to be a part of St. Hugh’s during this
time of development and improvement.”
The immediate consequence of the project for students is that the construction that will surround their campus for the remainder of the year. However, the college is working hard to keep the disruption to a minimal level.
“We have constrained the contractor so that the noise limits at the site perimeter should be 80 decibels, which is actually three decibels quieter than the college lawn-mower” said a St Hugh’s representative.
Polakova admitted there had been some concern from MCR members as they cannot to access their buildings through the standard access route during the building process, but she said the college is in the process of creating an alternative to this problem to which the MCR had agreed.
She added: “The MCR are also being given loads of free cake as compensation, so I daresay the issue is now resolved successfully.”
The college is also working with its members to make the construction an opportunity to show off the students’ artistic talents. They will be running “an art competition for the JCR and MCR to decorate the hoardings, which hopefully will make them feel more that they’ve got some ownership over the intrusion into their environment.”
PHOTO/St Hugh’s College