'Hild Bede' is in need of refurbishment. Credit: Durham University

UPP picked for Durham University package

The student living specialist has been named preferred bidder for the refurbishment of the College of St Hild and St Bede and the development of new accommodation at the Leazes Road site.

One of the key drivers for this project for both Durham University and the council is to increase the proportion of students living in university-owned or managed accommodation, UPP said.

UPP describes itself as the UK’s only multi-discipline, full-service design, build, fund and operate (DBFO) company dedicated to the higher education sector, with more than 25 years sector experience and £3.5bn invested.

The firm said that Durham highlighted some particularly important factors in their choice of UPP including:

  • A strong commitment to a partnership approach in the renovation of Hild Bede
  • A sympathetic design approach which respects the heritage and parkland aspects of the site, at Leazes Road
  • UPP’s extensive market experience
  • A mature and comprehensive facilities management service proposal
  • A commitment to support the university’s sustainability and Net Zero aspirations.

UPP will now continue to work with Durham University to refine the proposal with the scheme currently scheduled to start in 2025.

Unite is now on-site with the expansion of Rushford Court, which will accommodate Hild Bede students while the works take place.

Jeremy Cook, pro-vice-chancellor (colleges and student experience) at Durham University said:

“We are delighted to announce UPP as preferred bidder and look forward to working together to develop a scheme for the redevelopment of the Leazes Road site.

“The project will seek to rejuvenate The College of St Hild and St Bede on its iconic and beautiful site on the slope of the river Wear, providing excellent accommodation with a first-class student experience for the future. In securing preferred bidder status, UPP is working in partnership with the University to shape exciting plans and state of the art designs for accommodation at the Leazes Road site.”

Elaine Hewitt, chief executive of UPP said: “UPP is delighted to collaborate on this incredibly important project at Durham University.

“This scheme is about respecting, protecting and enhancing the history and heritage of the University for the benefit of future students. We are excited to co-create an environment that puts student experience at its heart, building on each unique college identity.”

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