Date of release: Wednesday, June 17, 2015

 An artist's impression of the Medway student hubExciting plans for new state-of-the-art student facilities at the Medway Campus have moved a step closer to reality. Official permission has now been granted for the scheme by the universities of Kent and Greenwich to convert an unused listed building at Medway – formerly home to a swimming pool and bowling alley – into a "student hub" for use by all 10,000 students at the campus.

Now that both listed building consent and planning permission has been given by Medway Council, the universities aim for facilities to be open in time for their respective student intakes in September 2016. The purpose-built student centre, which will include a café/bar, catering, entertainment and social activity space, will also include a home for GK Unions, the students' union partnership between Kent Union at Medway and the Students' Union University of Greenwich.

'Phase 1' for carrying out work on the project is currently out to tender and the universities expect to make an appointment in late June, with the works beginning in either July or August.

The universities hope to appoint contractors to begin work in near future. Students themselves have been helping to shape the design of the new facilities, through surveys and a consultation process led by GK Unions working with Dannatt Johnson Architects.

Tammy Naidoo, President of Kent Union and Alex Brooks, President of the Students' Union University of Greenwich, say they are looking forward to the plans for the hub taking shape, as the latter will enhance the student experience at Medway. "We're extremely pleased to see the universities investing in Medway and the new hub will be a great asset," they add. "The idea is for it to be a 'home from home' for students and we're looking forward to continuing to involve them in the look and feel of the hub later this autumn, when we start to agree fixtures and finishes."

An important centre for higher education, the Medway Campus, based at Chatham Maritime, is home to the Universities at Medway partnership, which involves Greenwich, Kent and Canterbury Christ Church. Other buildings to have been renovated on the campus include the Drill Hall Library, and the Pilkington Building, which opened to students in 2006 and 2007 respectively. All the key buildings on the site, including the old swimming pool, date back to the early 20th century when they were part of the HMS Pembroke Royal Navy barracks.

While the universities of Kent and Greenwich will fund and manage the proposed capital project, many of the new facilities will also be available to students of Canterbury Christ Church University.

Story by Public Relations

Picture: An artist's impression of the Medway student hub.