Plans for the redevelopment of Langwith bar have made further progress, with a finalised choice of building contractor and the release of designs for the new venue.
The brainchild of YUSU Services and Finance Officer, Matt Burton, the bar is set to be redeveloped over the summer to become the first Student Union bar on campus.
Design company Heron Designs have been chosen to undertake the redevelopment works as it has extensive experience in bars and catering.
“We looked at testimonials from other Student Unions and businesses that they’d worked for, and we got some very good feedback,” said Burton.
He continued: “One of the key things about this project is that we’ve got no experience in catering and running bars so we’re looking for a company that can bring that experience to the table and guide us as to how things should be laid out and what resources you need. On top of that they’ve got proven, turnkey experience, so they can deliver within the set time frame we’ve got for this summer.”
Drawing board designs for the new venue show an extending of the bar into the current lower JCR in Langwith. The area surrounding the bar is also to be redeveloped, with an emphasis on sustainability and natural materials, featuring wooden decking, plants and energy-efficient lighting.
“What we’ve been doing recently is touring around with the initial design and getting feedback from the key stakeholders, from Langwith students and we’ve got some comments from the Provost,” said Burton.
“The feedback’s been really positive in that it’s been very different, and it makes a big emphasis of the outdoor space, of which there isn’t on campus at the moment. It really livens up the area,” he added.
Current Langwith Bar Rep, Max Tyler, expressed support for the redevelopment. “We’re really excited about the plans for the new bar,” he said, “especially all the development that’s going to be happening outside; it’s something different that will really give our bar an edge. I think it’s a great thing for Langwith, and should enhance the college in the way that it deserves.”
It is hoped that the work put into the establishment will help rejuvenate the falling numbers of students currently patronising campus bars. “The outdoor space and the benefits it will bring to the college will hopefully retain people on campus and provide the students with a space to socialise in within Langwith,” said Burton. “We aim to create place they want to be in, hopefully reversing the trend that we’re seeing where people are leaving campus to go elsewhere.”
An asbestos scare at the start of term threw doubt over the continued progression of the project, Burton however was keen to dismiss fears that the issue would hinder redevelopment plans; “We commissioned an asbestos survey over the Easter holidays and we get those results in a week or two as to what there is to deal with. But we’re working with the University, making sure there’s enough time in the development programme to have anything that needs to be removed.”
YUSU hope to have access to the venue by the end of July, ready to open in time for Freshers’ Week at the start of the 2008/09 academic year.