21 September 2012
Canterbury Christ Church University today opened the doors to its latest multi-million pound building in the heart of Canterbury - St George's Centre.
The centre is the first of three buildings to be opened this term enhancing the experience of Christ Church’s students, staff and the wider community.
Opening in the University’s Golden Jubilee year, the impressive building at St George’s Place in the city centre is the result of a 15-month partnership between the Students’ Union and the University to deliver a unique and flexible space that meets the demands of a diverse student body.
St George’s took 490,000 hours to build, with local businesses benefiting from the £15 million construction project.
The 24-hour security controlled centre includes 200 superior en suite rooms, ten three-bedroom family houses, landscaped courtyards, lounge bar, coffee shop, Students’ Union offices and welfare facilities.
Stacey Hawes, Students’ Union President, said: “We are very excited to welcome our students to St George’s and make it the home of Canterbury Christ Church University’s Students’ Union.
“For over a year we have worked very closely with the University and have been fully involved in all aspects, from the design to facilities services contracts, and it’s great to be able to deliver such fantastic facilities that cater for all of our students in such a central location.
“We are very proud of what we have achieved, which we believe is a very distinctive and forward thinking approach to student living. We know our students will have a great time either living here or using the facilities on a daily basis. St George’s is now the home of Christ Church students.”
St George’s was officially opened by Honorary Fellow and Chairman of the Kent Messenger Group, Geraldine Allinson. She said: “I'm really honoured to have been asked to open such an impressive building.
"The impact a building like this has on Canterbury and the extensive investment that has been made demonstrates the University's unswerving commitment to the city and the local community.”
As well as working with the students on every design and build aspect of St George’s, the University also sought the views of local residents prior to, and during, the build. Since completion local residents have praised the new development. Fred Whitemore, Chairman of the Oaten Hill Society, added: “I came recently with local residents and members of our committee to see the finished new building in St George’s Place. We all, I think, regarded it as a fine building to celebrate Christ Church’s 50th Birthday. And none of us were surprised when the City’s Conservation Committee said the housing development in Dover Street was worthy of commendation.
“The Oaten Hill Society always welcomed the idea of purpose built and supervised student housing rather than increased use of general purpose housing for student accommodation. And we always found Christ Church receptive and helpful when we discussed conditions in the granting of planning permission.
“We welcome Christ Church to its new home and look forward to a friendly and co-operative relationship with them in coming years.”
As a result of the new development at St George’s, the old Students’ Union building on the North Holmes Road Campus has been refurbished to include a new suite of state-of-the art practice rooms, along with seminar and rehearsal spaces for students and staff. It will re-open on Friday, 5 October as the Maxwell Davies building, named after the University’s Visiting Professor and Master of the Queen’s Music, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.
Also on the same day, the newly renovated St Gregory’s Centre for Music will be officially opened by Admiral the Lord Boyce KG GCB OBE DL, Lord Warden and Admiral of the Cinque Ports and Honorary Doctor.
This iconic and historic venue for music performance will offer outstanding facilities to be enjoyed by national and international audiences, as well as the local community. It will also enable the University to extend its future public music programme, including a new strand of professional concerts.
Vice-Chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University, Professor Robin Baker CMG, said: “We are seemly privileged to be a city centre university - particularly in Canterbury, a World Heritage Site - and today's opening of St George's Centre highlights the important role we play in providing first class city facilities and buildings for our students and staff.
“A lot of care has also been taken to ensure this new building complements Canterbury's skyline, ensuring that it's in keeping with the city's unique character. The results, we believe, are impressive thanks to the vision and hard work of all those involved in the project.
“We're also delighted to be opening refurbished music venues next month - St Gregory's Centre for Music and the Maxwell Davies Building - on our main campus. These additional facilities will ensure we continue to bring world-class music to Canterbury and East Kent, and offer our music students the very best in rehearsal and performance space."
For more photos of St George's see the University's Flickr page: www.flickr.com/photos/canterburyccu
St George’s Centre
Canterbury Christ Church University
Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.
With nearly 20,000 students, and campuses across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.
*2010/11 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey