Diversions and Debates around New University Builds

Students at Essex University are being faced with a barrage of new builds on campus this year, causing diversions and turning the campus into a building site.

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Every university needs to grow and expand its facilities over time, but Essex University currently has six different builds underway, transforming the campus into something quite unpleasant on the eye. Students are having to naviagte their way through different routes to reach accommodation and lectures, raising questions of whether the number of simultaneous building projects has become excessive.

The biggest projects currently in progress include: a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths Centre, a temporary car park for contractors, an overhaul of the lakeside barbecue area and a redevelopment of the sports centre. Many of these developments are set to continue to the end of the current year, or beyond.

The total number of constructions currently going on is six, and students have given mixed responses to dealing with the problems, and looking forward to the potential benefits. Michelle Burke, a 33-year old History student at Essex University said “The visual issues don’t bother me, it’s the other inconveniences caused like diversions, internet service disruptions & problems that affect students living here during the building work. The university could definitely do with more parking, although I’m not sure why it’s temporary or limited to contractors”. She praised the expensive new development on campus though, stating that “The science, technology, engineering and maths centre (STEM) sounds like a good investment in education”.

This sentiment wasn’t shared by all students however, as Kristjan Purru, a 20 year old film student described the £13.2 million STEM centre as “money wasted” but claimed his biggest issue was with the travel disruption, adding that “the thing I dislike is the closure of the footpath near the business school”.

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third year economics student Andrew Cheung also offered his views in the following interview: https://soundcloud.com/user-933074734/interviewbar

It is clear that students can see the benefits of further developments, but there is clearly a widespread feeling that the disruptions are being felt, and they look set to continue for several months yet.

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