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Work starts to build a new home for students in Senate House

5 June 2019

Work gets underway next week to transform Senate House into a new, accessible student space, with a two-storey food court and SU café/bar. The food court will be ready in September 2020 - a year earlier than planned - so many current students will be able to enjoy this new place to meet, relax or study.

From 10 June to 23 September, Senate House will close and student services will relocate over the summer. The Bristol SU Living Room will have a pop up in the Balloon Bar, the Information Point will relocate to 5 Tyndall Avenue (until September 2020) and the PGR Hub is running summer pop up activities across campus. The SU Living Room and PGR Hub will reopen in Senate House this September.

As part of the process to transform the building into a hub for students at the heart of our campus, over 1,700 responses1 have been gathered from students on the renaming of Senate House through an online survey, workshops and a street survey.

Over 500 students took part in the online survey and workshops to shortlist the popular names. The top 10 names were then put to a representative sample group of over 1,000 students through a street survey. The most popular choice from the shortlist was to retain the name Senate House.

Keeping the building as Senate House was chosen by 22 per cent of students, followed by Student Hub (11 per cent), Jo Cox Building (10 per cent) and Campus Heart (10 per cent). Senate House was selected by more than double the number of students (228) than any other option (113).

Lynn Robinson, Deputy Registrar said: “We are very grateful to all the students who took part in this consultation. What it seems to show is that what we call the building is less important than what goes on in it.

“To ensure the building truly belongs to students and is somewhere they want to spend time, we’ve spoken to hundreds of students to explore which services should be in Senate House, as it becomes a student hub, and these views will be used to inform decisions about the building.

“A year ago, the Vice-Chancellor and the senior team showed their commitment to put students at the heart of the campus by vacating this flagship building and handing it over to our students. We hope that this will be another step towards building a stronger community of students in the heart of our university.

“We will revisit the name of the building after it reopens in September 2020 and once it becomes a student-oriented building, with the new food court and student-facing services and facilities.”

To minimise the impact of building works, the most disruptive work is being scheduled over the summer when many students are away. However, to open as a student support and social hub as early possible, construction will take place while Senate House is in use and some classes will have to be timetabled into the building next term. We will communicate regularly to try to keep students informed about what’s happening and when.

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