Suffolk's University: No Ambition Or Innovation.

Discussion in 'Local Politics' started by dan5, Aug 2, 2017.

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  1. dan5

    dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

    Ipswich and the county of Suffolk is doomed as far as a university is concerned. Wolsey tried back-in-the-day and ever since it has been a non-starter. We are supposed to be thankful for the recent attempt which has recently reached its first annual milestone as a proper an independent university. So it is new?

    The only real success for the University of Suffolk is pushing up land and rental prices in the area, which is a problem when we don't have many high paying jobs. This needs to change, the University of Suffolk must succeed as an educational institution for higher education!!

    University of Suffolk Vs University of Northampton

    Suffolk College dates back from the 1960s (?) and split in 2009 (?) to Suffolk New College for further education and University Campus Suffolk for higher education. Until 1st August 2016, University Campus Suffolk was controlled by two regional universities - the UEA in Norwich and Uni of Essex in Colchester.

    University of Northampton is a new university too - it became a university in 2005. The history started in 1924 as Northampton Technical College, before being called Nene College in 1975 (Nene after local river) before renaming to University College Northampton in 1999.

    Cardinal Wolsey tried to establish an college to rival Eton College in 1528 in Ipswich which was destroyed in 1530.

    An interesting story for Northampton University (UCN at the time) is they had to get a Royal Decree repealed dating back from 1265 signed by King Henry III after the Battle of Lewes, which banned Northampton from having a university!

    Waterside Campus Vs Waterfront Campus

    University of Northampton is constructing a new campus called Waterside Campus costing some £330m over some 58 acres of brown field land. It looks really nice. Lots of new buildings, self-contained campus and they are even building bridges too.


    Back in Ipswich, the University of Suffolk (excluding their non-campus bases in Bury St Edmunds, Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth) has two buildings, plus the new built Suffolk New College and associated buildings. About 24-25 acres by eye. So approximately half the size.

    Waterfront Building £35m
    James Hehir Building £21m
    Suffolk New College £70m
    Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre (IWIC) £5.5m
    Question Mark £200k

    Factor in the cost of new sixth form college... ( as an alternative to Suffolk New College)

    Suffolk One ("One") £60m

    Approaching £200m. (Possibly close to £250m with a fairer price comparison at today's prices) In fairness this would have been enough to build a nice new campus on the northern fringe. Instead we have a colossal mess.

    They overspent on the Waterfront Building. Savings could have been made over the other big spends too. The Waterfront Building has much fewer square foot of usable floor space than it looks along its western facade. Not just the nice slope design but it doesn't curve round as one might expect. I can't help but think you could achieve similar floor space for £10-15m (the Atrium/IWIC only cost £5.5m with a respectable modern look so maybe the lower estimate)


    They had the problem with residents and businesses worried about loss of light etc. and the money was mostly grants to fund it so common sense of a new location and a simpler building didn't come into it.

    I still would have thought £200m on a decent self-contained campus to the north of the town would have been the better option. The old Suffolk College site could have been redeveloped for housing or town centre offices. Nothing special about that location.

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  3. OP

    dan5Founder MemberStaff Member

    In 2017, the following 5-storey office block building is being built for around £12m...
    The two main University of Suffolk buildings on the Waterfront cost a combined £56m.

    On a campus, you could have built 5 or 6 (briefly factoring in costs over time) of an office block like Birketts for this money. Add in Suffolk New College at £70m, you could have built another 6 or 7 of these office blocks... 11 to 13 of them in total. What an university we would have with all the different faculty buildings.

    So if we rewind a bit, 13 would be excessive, even 5 would be really good... (instead of the two buildings at the Ipswich Waterfront) ...instead of rebuilding Suffolk College as Suffolk New College (which Suffolk One could have taken its place) you could make a dream campus... make it self-contained with cafes, student bars and restaurants on site, build 3 large student accommodation blocks...

    So yes "dream campus" we can all dream but they have spent more money on a small vanity project... Food for thought?
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2017

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