A £2.5m cash investment will help refurbish an historic city centre hotel and provide student housing.
The Grand Hotel on Barras Bridge, in Newcastle, will undergo a huge re- development as Newcastle University invests millions into revamping the Grade II-listed building.
Built in 1902 and bought 56 years later by the university to accommodate students from across the globe, the investment will help increase the number of en-suite rooms from 48 to 66.
Officials from Newcastle University confirmed work would focus on the building’s interior and the famous Victorian facade will remain unchanged. It means the ‘Grand Hotel’ lettering – carved in to stone at the top of the building between two ball-finial capped gables – will be preserved for future generations.
Work on the Grand Hotel is expected to start next month, with completion in late 2013. It comes as Newcastle University continues its huge re-development around the university campus, that has included the £74m construction of the new INTO Newcastle Centre which opened in September.
Mark I’Anson, chairman of the university’s council which approved the investment, said: “We recognise that quality accommodation is an important part of the overall student experience we offer at Newcastle. That’s why we are continuing to invest in the range and quality of our residences.
“Creating a campus that can be enjoyed by staff, students and visitors alike is also a key priority for the university, particularly when it is so central to the city.
“Improvements such as the Student Forum, the refurbishment of the Students’ Union building and the upgrade of the Grand Hotel are all aimed at enriching the student experience and developing a campus of which we can all be proud.” The scheme, which will make the building more eco-friendly, is part of an on-going investment by Newcastle University in improving its campus for students, staff and visitors.
Also taking shape are improvements to the famous University ‘Arches’ and the completion of a new Student Forum, which is an open, landscaped area with seating and sculptures.
The revamped Grand Hotel will further improve the frontage of Percy Street, which now features the university’s new INTO building with its brass cut-out screen facade. Opened in September, it is now home to 600 international students, science labs, a learning resource centre, a 90-seat lecture theatre and a cafe.
Newcastle University teamed up with INTO, which prepares international students for undergraduate and postgraduate study, in 2007.
Since then, more than 4,000 students have studied at INTO Newcastle and carried on their education at the university.
There are around 6,000 undergraduates and postgraduates from 120 different countries currently studying in the city, contributing an estimated £70m annually to the local economy.
Tony Stevenson, pro-vice chancellor for planning and resources at Newcastle University, said: “Our successful partnership with INTO is something we are very proud of.
“Soon, we will have a brand new purpose-built building of the highest standard which will match the quality of the teaching and learning on offer.
“Our partnership means we benefit from the addition of students from all over the world on our campus, which makes our university a more vibrant place.”