Across the University campus, we are creating innovative new spaces to improve our students' experience and ensure that we remain the University of choice.
In spring 2016, construction began on a £20 million new hall of residence near the Grange Road gate, which will open its doors to students in September 2017.
Grange Road will have space for 178 student bedrooms, arranged in 34 flats housing between four and seven people each and including 11 wheelchair accessible rooms. The design of the new residences is bright and modern, with communal spaces at the corners of the buildings to allow residents to benefit from views towards campus and Selly Oak. The residency will also boast a café, open to the local community, a new sports pavilion and a dedicated student accommodation office. The new building will bring a lively atmosphere to the Selly Oak area and promote a community-led University ethos.
At the northern end of the Vale Village, the skyline changed dramatically between 2014 and 2016, as we built a brand new hall of residence comprising a new tower and three low rise blocks to form the new Chamberlain.
The 50-year-old Eden Tower was removed at the start of 2014. Previously known as High Hall, the tower, and its associated blocks of Hampton and Chelwood wings, were demolished after studies revealed it would be uneconomical to refurbish them and would not provide the quality of accommodation which the University of Birmingham desires for students.
The new hall, which welcomed its first students in September 2015, provides a home for 725 students on the Vale in either en-suite study bedrooms in clusters of five or six sharing a kitchen/lounge, or self- contained studios. The new 21-storey tower’s ground floor is home to social spaces including catering and social facilities, and other amenities including a launderette. A brand new Tex-Mex themed restaurant, JCs, opened in 2016.
Students who live in the tower accommodation benefit from views across the Vale, a grade 2 historic park and garden, whilst those on the very upper floors will enjoy vistas across the city. The three low rise blocks have been designed to sit at an angle to maximise views into the Vale both from the accommodation itself but also for passers-by and residents along Church Road which sits at the top of the Vale.
In April 2015, the new tower was officially 'topped out' after reaching its highest point. The occasion was marked by University Director of Residential and Environmental Services Lesley Stewart, University Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood and Colin Harper, Project Director at Balfour Beatty.
Open for the start of the new 2016 term, the new ‘route to the Vale’ provides a safe pathway between the main University campus and the Vale residences away from the main (Edgbaston Park) road. The new pathway is sheltered by trees and hedge row to the main University campus providing a greener, safer and nicer access route to all University buildings. The route has been carefully planned and designed for walkers and cyclists, as well as the local environment and native species. Students will pass through wildflower, tree, pond and shrub planting areas, seating and break spaces, and a series of emergency call points and advanced lighting.