Conceived in 2002, and put forward for planning in 2004, the possibility of facilitating a 50 per cent expansion in the student population was ambitious.
Obtainment of the 166 hectare site in 2007 put in motion the first phase of development: a £200m investment in the relocation of Goodricke College, the construction of the York Law and Management schools, and departmental buildings for Computer Science, Theatre, Film and Television.
The modernity of the Ron Cooke Hub and The Catalyst underpin the principle behind the development, which fits into the University ‘vision of a 21st century campus’. In this respect, the modernity of Heslingtion East is a University triumph.
As part of a further £60m investment, Heslington East will see further changes this Summer, with the completion of the relocation of Langwith College.
Costing £30m, Langwith will provide self-catered accommodation for 645 students, ranging from first-year undergraduates to PhD students. The influx of students will be – in the eyes of many Goodricke students – more than welcome, helping to add vibrancy to a community which has been referred to as a “ghost-town”.
The completion of Langwith in September 2012 will coincide with the opening of York Sport Village. The £9 million facility-funded by both the University and the Council – includes a competition standard swimming pool, gym, and external Astroturf football pitches.
All facilities will be available for use by the public as well as students and staff, which it is hoped will help to integrate the two communities.
The progression of Heslington East marks an interesting departure in the history of the University. The ‘new’ facilities could well alter the interface that currently exists between Heslington West and East; the former accepted as the heart of the University, and the latter seen as something of an appendage.
Yet, as each year passes, with new students having no conception of the University of York without Heslington East, and with disproportionate investment in that side of campus, this could well change. Overtime, the heart of the University could indeed shift eastwards.