UEA invest £6 million for the refurbishment of Union House!

Some great news for the students and the UUEAS!  University of East Anglia has decided to invest £6 millions to contribute to the refurbishment of the Union House.

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Roger Bond, Director of Estates, said

“Following recent discussions, the University is pleased to confirm that it intends to invest around £6m into student facilities both within union house and the surrounding student services area. We will now be working with the Students’ Union and others to ensure that the planned redevelopments meet students’ needs, both now and in the future”

As you all might have noticed, during week seven of this autumn semester, starting from 4th November, the Union decided to start a consultation project to establish how members and students would like to renew the existent Union House. Students were given the opportunity to participate either online or in the Hive Coffee Shop.

A large whiteboard displaying a version of a blank floor plan was put in the Hive for students to write suggestions on how they would like the Union to look and what features they would like it to have. The contribution was great and diverse. The majority of these suggestions included new sofas and bean bags to sit in, new entertainment space or club, hot food, bookable space, different colours, quiet working space and much more! This suggests the idea that the Union should be a space where students can go to relax during study breaks or breaks in teaching. Overall it came out that students want a more colourful Union House with lots of natural light, better toilets and a new entrance so that the building looks different from other University buildings.

Other popular suggestions included:

  • A permanent Union Coffee Shop looking more like the chain coffee shops students are used to go into the city.
  • Refurbishment of the entertainment venue and the LCR as a club venue including a retractable stage, a better dance floor area and a cooler club venue with a better smoking area.
  • Improve the options of hot food available, including “pub grub” and a Sunday carvery.
  • Student clubs and society would benefit from more storage space, bookable rooms and performance spaces.
  • Improvement of the access for disabled people and the access to Student Officers and Union Staff Members.

These results echoed those gathered through an online survey completed by undergraduate, postgraduate and staff.

Postgrads also express the desire for a new refurbished graduate space, along with both quiet and social working place. In the survey they clearly express the wish of keeping a postgrads bar because it is important for them to have a separate place to socialise and spend time together.  In effect, the Grad Bar is the only dedicated space for postgrads and mature students on campus. However, they noted how this space needed refurbishment like the rest of the union building, and they would like it to change, suggesting new windows, a nicer, cosy coffee shop/lounge area and the creation of a place to work and study.

All the answers gathered pointed out that the Union buildings look and feel tired and old. Having a social learning space available is a priority for both UG and PG students and as places like the Hive are heavily used, it is evident that they need refurbishment and expansion to suit the needs of the student body.

Joe Levell, Union Finance Officer, said:

“This is great news for students. Our members have been telling us they need more social learning space, more space for clubs and societies and better places to relax between lectures, and we’re looking forward to working with the University over the next couple of years to deliver it”

This contribution is extremely significant and will greatly help to make this project come true! We are looking forward to see a new students Union as much as you do and with the help of UEA we will make these changes happen as soon as possible!

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