Moving Langwith to Hes East presents a difficult challenge

Having no actual experience in the matter, I imagine that running a university is a constant balancing act. For every action, there are repercussions; for every step forward, there is a step back. And nothing is going to please everybody.

Plans to move Langwith College to Heslington East have been under consideration for a while, but now the plan is to shift the college by 2012, ambitious considering the set backs which issue from the dusty building site that will some day become the idyllic place that the artist’s impression promises. But potential ineptitude never put off the University of York, oh no! The wheels are in motion, and we’re left wondering how this is going to affect students on the ‘west side’ of the campus.

There are two sides to this story. Hes East needs more students there on a regular basis; there is too great a divide between campuses. Deporting students to Hes East is apparently the answer.

the future Langwith students are looking at a definite upgrade

Are students really what Heslington East needs? Surely facilities bring in students – lecture halls, bars and cafes. Until the building work is completed, no-one can truly know if the two halves of York can be reconciled to create a united campus.

On the other hand, what will become of the current Langwith buildings? I’m sure they can be put to use by the University, but will it be the same? Will the Courtyard still be able to maintain its success as a campus hub if it became fenced in by administrative buildings or storage units, rather than lively students? Or will the Courtyard be uprooted with Langwith, and the best elements of the old campus plundered?

Of course, the future Langwith students are looking at a definite upgrade in terms of standards. But it comes at the price of living, as current Goodricke students do, on a building site for some time, potentially a lengthy walk away from those delightful early morning lectures.

The right choice is not always the easiest, but is it really worth breathing life into Hes East at the expense of Hes West? How much will it suffer in order to make room for everlasting improvements and amendments to Heslington East? To avoid being buried under the weight of improvements, the University must finish one job before starting another.

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