Press Releases

Showroom bedroom opens for future Reading students as halls of residence project starts to take shape – University of Reading

Release Date : 08 September 2009

The £49 million Phase One project of the University of Reading's construction of two new halls of residence is progressing well. The University has unveiled a showroom bedroom to outline the quality of the future accommoation.

Construction work on the two new state-of-the-art halls of residence at the University of Reading began earlier this year. The halls project will help the university attract the best students to Reading, reduce its carbon footprint and will provide employment for up to 260 people at the peak of the project later this year.

The design of the buildings will reduce carbon emissions below the standards required by current Building Regulations by around 20 per cent. The new halls will incorporate enhanced thermal insulation levels and high efficiency gas fired central plants as a heat source. They are designed to maximise natural daylight, which together with sensors and automatic dimming will reduce electricity consumption. There will also be underfloor heating systems in the new catering and social buildings. The ground stabilisation for the new buildings uses the recycled masonry from the demolished halls of residence, reducing the need for more materials and lorry trips in and out of the campus.

Each student bedroom is equipped with Internet connections, linked to the University network, thermostatic radiator, swipe key entrance, work station, large single bed with under mattress storage, wardrobe and bookshelves, ensuite shower-room and toilet, sink and toilet and heated towel rail.

The halls redevelopment scheme will create a new integrated community approach to student accommodation within the Whiteknights parkland setting. It will comprise flat style accommodation, complete with a social hub which will include a flexible catering outlet.

The new Mackinder Hall will replace the old Whiteknights Hall, demolished last autumn. Stenton Hall will be located to the south of Childs Hall, which will also be demolished in a subsequent phase of the project.

The two halls will create a total of 965 student bedrooms arranged around leafy courtyards. The new halls will be ready for new students to move in for the 2010/11 academic year in the autumn of next year. The University is also planning to develop a central hub building between the two halls at the existing Windsor Hall, which will include student catering outlets, a laundrette, social spaces and offices. These buildings are also planned to be complete by the autumn of 2010.

The halls are named after Halford John Mackinder, the first Principal of The College at Reading from 1892-1903 and Sir Frank Stenton, the University's third Vice Chancellor (1946-50).

The halls development is a cornerstone of the University's Whiteknights Development Plan 2008-2018, which was the subject of a major consultation in 2007. The Plan is designed to provide facilities appropriate to the university's world-class standing and international reputation. The University has recently submitted a planning application for phase two of the project, which will begin after the completion of the first phase.

Sinead Brennan, President, Reading University Students Union; "I'm really impressed with the size of the rooms, as well as a larger bed, the desks are of good size and there's ample storage space which is vital for student's books, folders, DVDs and other learning necessities!"

"The reduction in carbon emissions and electricity consumption in the new buildings is especially important in these halls. Student's are becoming increasingly environmentally focussed, as a Union we are constantly looking at ways to decrease our carbon footprint, so it's fantastic that the University is keeping this in mind for the halls re-development."

The University has appointed Reading-based Morgan Ashurst as the contractor for Phase 1 of the project. Almost 100 construction workers are employed on the first stage of the build this summer, rising to 260 at the peak of the construction towards the end of 2009. Morgan Ashurst Project director, Peter Baggott, said: "We're thrilled so many people are taking an active interest in the project. The concrete frame and bathroom pods are being prefabricated off site and this is saving us a considerable amount of time. It also means that we have been able to reduce the number of deliveries to the site which in turn reduces the amount of traffic in the local area around the university. We hope staff, students and local people in Reading will enjoy watching the halls rise from the ground over the coming months."


For all University of Reading media enquiries please contact Alex Brannen 0118 378 7388

Notes to editors:

Images of the showroom bedroom are available as are computer generated images of the new hall buildings - 0118 378 7388

The University's £250 million Whiteknights Development Plan 2008-18 will create a high quality environment that will ensure the University of Reading continues to be regarded as one of the leading universities in the UK and internationally. This includes providing top-quality accommodation for students of the future. For more information please visit

Morgan Ashurst is a leading full-service construction business with more than 1,800 employees in the UK. Supported by a national network of local offices, the company works for private and public sector clients on projects from £50,000 to over £300 million. Morgan Ashurst's construction activities range from small works, repair and maintenance services to large-scale complex projects across the commercial, defence, education, healthcare, industrial, leisure, retail and transport sectors. It is part of top UK construction and regeneration group Morgan Sindall plc which operates through five specialist divisions of fit out, construction, infrastructure services, affordable housing and urban regeneration.

Media Contact: Liz Coyle-Camp/Lyndsay George, 01747 871752 or


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