Gallery: UCS rapidly making its name

AT the moment it is little more than a big hole in the ground,

AT the moment it is little more than a big hole in the ground,

But by the end of next year UCS's second academic building - codenamed University Quays 1 (UQ1) - will have opened its doors to the ever increasing number of UCS students.

The University Quay site, which sits on the Ipswich Waterfront 300 metres south of the landmark Waterfront building, will be developed over the next five years and phase one is now under way.

And UQ1 will be overlooked by the first of two blocks of student residences, consisting of 600 student rooms, retail units and a car park, which is already under construction.

In his hard hat and high visibility vest, Brian Shaw, sustainability officer for building firm Willmott Dixon, tours the site.

He said: “We started work in the middle of July and at the moment preliminary work is under way and we are constructing the pile caps.

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“The crane is set up to unload lorries and prefabricated materials. We have about 24 staff on site.

“It is a 63 week contract so we should be finished by autumn 2010. The next stage will be to put in the floor slab.”

A �4.6 million grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), along with generous donations from Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk County Council, will help fund the building scheme.

Caroline Waters, UCS communications and marketing manager, said: “The new building will provide accommodation for health and Science students, as well as an innovative 'iLab', general teaching and study space and UCS Students' Union facilities.

“Future buildings are planned for 2012 onwards and will include an extensive library and learning resource centre, plus general teaching, specialist and further student facilities.”

UCS is currently seat of learning to 3,300 students with numbers expected to increase substantially over the coming years.

Caroline added: “We are really excited that work has begun on phase two. This building will enable UCS to grow and develop as well as attract more students to study here.”

By 2014 UCS is expected to have 7,500 students enrolled in its courses.

Neil Jackson, director of campus development, UCS said: “UQ1 is the next major step in the creation of the UCS Ipswich campus.”

Meanwhile back at The Waterfront Building the UCS fresher's fare is busy attracting students keen to find out more about what is on offer for them.

Organised by the UCS Students Union clubs and societies, firms and organisations are busy talking to students keen to find out more.

Emma Smith, 19, a children's nursing student is taking a closer look at Rattlesden Glider Club.

She said: “It has been an interesting morning. We have joined the membership and mailing list for Liquid Nightclub.”

James Schooley, 20, and Andrew Perry, 26, are busy manning the UCS Rugby stand.

James said: “We are on a recruitment drive. We are coming into our first season in a league. We have a fixture every week and we need players.

“Seventy people, make and female, have left their names so we are really pleased with the turn out.”

Andy Speed, UCS Students' Union president, said organisations at the event include churches, local companies like National Express and Dominos Pizza, the NHS, Suffolk Constabulary, The Suffolk Fire Service, political parties, St John's Ambulance and Ipswich Borough Council.

Ross Barrett, 20, is manning the newly formed UCS Media Society stand.

He said: “We are a new society and we are thinking about starting a radio station and UCS newspaper - it hasn't even got a name yet.

“We are looking for people to get involved.”

Andy said: “There has been a really good response. There are lots of clubs, societies and organisations to get involved with.

“Freshers Fayre is a chance for new and current students to find out what is on offer for them.”

Are you a UCS student? What do you think of the UCS development? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

UCS Timeline

2009

The Earl of Wessex officially opened the Waterfront building on the 18 June.

2008

University Campus Suffolk's Waterfront building opened and welcomed its first students.

2007

University Campus Suffolk celebrated its first official day of working on 1 August.

2006

December - Planning permission given for university campus building.

April - Launch of first undergraduate prospectus.

2005

Autumn - Lowestoft College, West Suffolk College and Otley College joined Suffolk College as partner colleges.

February - Funding secured.

2004

September - First consultation meetings held with education representatives and Suffolk businesses about the planned curriculum.

2003

Spring - Suffolk County Council reinvigorated the long-held ambitions for a university for Suffolk.

2002

Autumn - The University of East Anglia and the University of Essex joined with Suffolk College to discuss a radical collaborative approach to extending higher education in Suffolk.