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SU to move to Exam Schools in 2026

The Oxford SU will move to a new home in Examination Schools from 2026 as part of a plan to consolidate student services within the University.

As part of these new plans, the University Offices at Wellington Square will be transformed into a “central, easily accessible hub for students”. The central administration of the University moved to these purpose-built offices from the Clarendon Building in 1975.

An SU spokesperson said that the move to Exam Schools “presents an opportunity” to deliver on students’ “strong desire for a more centrally located SU”. They stated that the SU is “looking forward to working with the University and our members to make sure this space is one students will engage with, right in the heart of Oxford”.

This plan is part of a wider project, known as UAS Space Review, which aims to increase the efficiency of University Administration and Services space. The project board is chaired by Oxford’s Academic Registrar, Dr Saira Shaikh, and includes representatives from across the University Administration and Services (UAS) division.

Since the project began in Michaelmas 2022, it has mapped all 27 units operated by UAS and spoken to the teams at each unit about opportunities to consolidate their spaces. 

These conversations have resulted in some preliminary consolidation, particularly on space being given up in Worcester Street where the SU is currently based.

Across the 2022-23 academic year space taken up by University services was reduced by 9%, with a current target of 25% reduction by the end of the project.

Options for longer-term change were drawn up over Hilary and Trinity 2023, and in June 2023 the University’s Planning and Resource Allocation Committee (PRAC) confirmed proposals to move most UAS teams into three distinct hubs over the next three years.

The University Offices at Wellington Square will become the “student-facing hub” of the University, housing services that support the student experience including the Alumni Office and Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach (UAO).

Senior University officers and external-facing UAS sections will move to a new location in the Radcliffe Humanities Quarter once the Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities opens in 2025. It will provide a “welcoming front door” to the University. This new location will include the offices of the Pro-Vice-Chancellors.

Core UAS administrators will move into a collection of units around Worcester Street and the Malthouse to create a more cohesive, collaborative, and efficient administrative hub for the University.

A more detailed phase of in-depth space and phased relocation planning will take place from Michaelmas 2023. The project board seeks to continue gathering input from staff and will establish a number of working groups for each of the new hubs to allow contributions to the future direction of University spaces.

Final recommendations will be given in Trinity 2024 and more specific details regarding how the project will impact University working spaces will be provided then.

As part of the project, several buildings currently operated by UAS are expected to be released, including Hayes House, Littlegate House, and buildings on Banbury Road, Parks Road, and Hythe Bridge Street. A number of other buildings are expected to be repurposed, with details to follow in due course.

Professor Martin Williams, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education), said that the single hub for student-facing services will “provide a more seamless experience for students seeking support” and that the SU will “benefit from facilities in the heart of the city”.

Williams stated that the University will “work closely with our student community as our planning progresses to ensure the new spaces meet their needs”.

Image Credit: skittledog via Creative Commons