The University has announced that it is to create a new student study space by April of this year, next to the Charles XII public house in Heslington.
The building to be used, currently named ‘The New Building’, will provide a work environment for 150 students. This comes following concerns that the current renovations to the library have hindered students, who have complained that there is not currently sufficient space to work.
David Garner, University Press Officer, stated that: “In response to student concerns about the temporary restriction on study space during the library refurbishment, we are working hard to provide additional student study space in alternative accommodation.” Garner continued to explain that the University “aims to have the additional space available for use by early April”, and that “further details will be announced in due course”.
However, despite the benefits of additional space, many are concerned about the implications of having a workspace for students next to a public house.
“It’s hard enough for me to concentrate on my work as it is, I don’t think I’m going to find it easy to focus on my essay when all my friends are next door in the pub,” said one Alcuin first-year student.
The Charles XII, part of the restaurant chain Mitchell and Butlers, was unable to comment on how this would affect them. One student pointed out: “It’s obviously going to be great for the Charles. People normally grab a sandwich on campus but it’s a bit of a trek to there from Heslington. I don’t think students will be bothered to walk back to campus just for a snack.”
However, another final year student did not think that the new building would make a difference to the pub’s income. “People always go to Browns or the Charles,” he stated, “and the kind of people that stay on campus really late to work are not going to be so easily distracted. People need to take responsibility for their own work.”
The University is rumoured to be looking for a large number of staff for the new study space, and are concerned that students may use the space as more of a common room than as the workspace which it is intended to be.
The library, which is currently being renovated, is due for completion by March 2012. The second floor, which is currently temporarily cordoned off, is due to be completed by June of this year. There is also speculation that the third floor of the library is supposedly to be finished by October 2010, although the University are yet to officially confirm this. When this is finished, the refurbishment of the current library will be complete.
Work is then scheduled to begin on the Comsite building which currently adjoins the library. This will act as an expansion, which is planned to house a Computer Science section and a graduate centre, as well as further study space.
The University is also said to be presently converting its journals into electronic form in order to allow easier access and to provide more space. Depending on the University obtaining help from the Copyright Licensing Agency, it may also be converting many of its Key Texts to electronic form.