Kingston Council has given its backing to the Universityâ€™s plans to purchase Surrey County Hall. The Councilâ€™s endorsement is an important boost for the New University Project (NUP), which will fundamentally change the way the University looks and operates.
Council leader Derek Osbourne said it would be particularly fitting for the University to become the new owner of the County Hall complex in Penrhyn Road. â€œThe University is one of the townâ€™s key cultural and economic drivers, so it makes sense for it to occupy a landmark building in the very heart of Kingston,â€ he said. Councillor Osbourneâ€™s comments follow the announcement that the Universityâ€™s Board of Governors has approved plans to buy the historic building, currently the headquarters for Surrey County Council.
Meanwhile, members of the New University Project team have moved into offices at Swan House, next to the River House site in central Kingston. Headed by Pro Vice-Chancellor for Strategic Development Dr Ken Hopkins, the group also comprises programme manager Julia Bond, programme adviser Phil Sharman and communications officer Deirdre Ferrier. They will be joined by the Universityâ€™s newly-appointed Director of Estates, David Sanders, when he takes up his post after Easter.
Dr Hopkins is confident the project will lead to significant improvements in studentsâ€™ experience of the education system and put the institution in a strong position to meet the challenges of the next decade. He is now overseeing the development of a consultation and communications strategy that will enable the community to play an active role in the New University Project. â€œWe want to ensure that key stakeholders, including the Council and local residents, are fully involved as we draw up our plans for the future,â€ he said.