Somerville College break ground on new accommodation building

A ground-breaking ceremony performed by the husband of former Somerville College Principal - the late Catherine Hughes - has celebrated the start of construction on a new on-site student accommodation building for the Oxford University college.

Property consultants Bidwells, the team’s project managers, and Oxford-based construction firm, Beard, joined Dr Trevor Hughes as he officially started the construction phase of work on the new building – known as the Catherine Hughes Building.

Catherine Hughes was Principal of Somerville College from 1989 to 1996.

The new building will provide 68 bedrooms and allow the College to accommodate all their undergraduates on site for the duration of their studies.

Andrew Parker, Treasurer, of Somerville College, said: “The Catherine Hughes building will help us to achieve one of our long-held goals: to accommodate all of our undergraduates on site. We know that this will bring our Somerville community even closer together. It will also offer a significant benefit for applicants choosing Somerville, and will be particularly important to those who might otherwise be deterred by the cost of having to live out for a year.

“It is especially fitting that our new building should be named for Catherine Hughes, who had a particular interest in the intellectual development and wellbeing of students, and we are proud to honour her in this way.”

Chris Clover, Partner at Bidwells, said: “Bidwells is honoured to be involved in marking the legacy of such an important figure in Somerville College’s history and we very much look forward to taking this project to the next stage of its development.”

Richie Carter, contracts manager at Beard, said: “We’re delighted to be starting construction on the Catherine Hughes Building and look forward to working with the Oxford University’s Somerville College and Bidwells in the delivery of this exciting and challenging project which will allow Somerville to bring all of its student accommodation onto one campus.”

The new building, on Walton Street, was designed by Niall McLaughlin Architects. It will be built in red brick and have a graduate reading room on the ground floor. It is scheduled for completion in October 2019.


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