Dig this! Students celebrate groundbreaking design for new halls of residence

Students and staff celebrate the start of the £12m student residences project at the official groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday 18 May

Heriot-Watt University students at the Scottish Borders Campus will soon be living in brand new accommodation thanks to a £12m development that was launched on Wednesday 18 May, at the official groundbreaking ceremony.

Attending the event  was Professor Steve Chapman, Heriot-Watt    University  Principal; Alison Harley, Head of Heriot-Watt's School of Textiles & Design; and Liam Hanlon, Regional Operations Director for Miller Construction, the main contractor for the Galashiels residences.

The joint project is part of a £26m University development,  which includes  new residences at the University's Edinburgh Campus. Work is  scheduled for completion in the summer of 2012.

The Galashiels development will be constructed in phases, following the recent major upgrade of the academic facilities at the Scottish Borders Campus, with the initial stage providing 218 bed spaces.

Latest phase of the University's investment programme

Professor Steve Chapman, said, "These new residences, the latest phase of the University's dynamic programme of investment to upgrade its estate, will be a major improvement to the current student halls. They will replace facilities that are reaching the end of their useful lifespan with modern, attractive and welcoming accommodation with generous space and of a standard that will be at the leading edge of market expectations.

"The residence design has been developed by a team experienced in this sector but has also evolved in consultation with staff who will operate and maintain them and, crucially, with students."

First-class student residences

Liam Hanlon said: "We are delighted to be working with Heriot-Watt, Miller Construction has a reputation for the delivery of first-class student residences and I am confident that this new accommodation will further enhance the University's offer for learners, and contribute to the overall experience of those who choose to stay and study at the Galashiels campus. We are pleased to be marking the commencement of works with the Principal and look forward to working with the Heriot-Watt team over the coming months."

The £26m  residences project

The Edinburgh residence project, which will have 277 bed spaces, is a further expansion of the Edinburgh Campus' West Student Village.

Both the Edinburgh and Scottish Borders Campus will comprise single rooms, each with en-suite provision, kitchens, lounges and ancillary facilities. At each location some of the rooms will be arranged as five bedroom 'cluster' flats.

The proposed accommodation will achieve an 'excellent' rating for environmental performance under the BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method)