Reaching out, living in
We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build affordable accommodation for talented students of all backgrounds.
We recently acquired Castle Hill House, a property next to St Peter’s, to build much-needed student bedrooms. For the first time our second-year undergraduates would be able to live in College, and in the heart of the city, transforming their student experience and securing our future success. In particular, we would be able to attract more students from less privileged backgrounds. You can read more about the impact of this project below, and in this brochure.
Recognising the significance of this opportunity a donor has agreed to match all donations made before the end of 2019, up to a total of £5m. The offer will not be extended.
We are one of very few colleges that cannot house all our second-year undergraduates on site. This now matters a great deal. We know that students of all kinds desire the economic and welfare benefits of ‘living in’. When we talk to prospective applicants (and their parents and teachers), and particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, we hear how many of them would prefer to live at College throughout their studies. It is a factor that looms large when they consider where to apply.
Castle Hill House is a freehold property next to the College in New Road, used for decades as The Conservative Association. When we found out last year that it was to be put up for sale we knew it was a college priority to buy it – and we did. It is extraordinarily rare to be able to purchase a piece of adjacent land in the crowded city centre, and we now need to make maximum use of it. We have arrived at a pivotal moment in the College’s history.
“Living in College-owned accommodation means I don’t have to worry about dealing with landlords. Having guaranteed accommodation in College removes the time and stress involved. Having to do this in the first term of first year was daunting and took up a lot of time.”
Gemma Roper, JCR President
Castle Hill House will be a distinctive, attractive and sustainable development fulfilling three principal criteria: utility, functionality and aesthetics. The site is prominent and sensitive and we are working collaboratively with Oxford City Council on how it will connect with the city as a whole on New Road. We will improve and open up a section of Bulwarks Lane, letting in light and viewpoints to make it safer and more accessible, and enabling us to see, and be seen by, the city.
We would like to start construction in 2020, with an expected completion date of September 2022. The redevelopment would incorporate:
- Two residential buildings, with disability access, containing a total of 52 en-suite rooms
- A wildflower meadow roof, to help capture rainwater and increase urban biodiversity
- An eco-friendly Passivhaus design, to reduce energy use
- Landscaped gardens and outside spaces
- A common room opening out onto the lawn at Canal House.
“St Peter’s is ideally situated within the City so living there means I can get to libraries and other colleges easily. Living in means that I feel a lot safer as the porters in the Lodge are always there and I don’t have to walk or cycle home in the dark on my own. Living in College means that I am close to Hall for reasonably priced hot meals.”
Ram Choudhury, Undergraduate
With your support, this project will transform the future of the College. Specifically, it will enable us to:
- House most second-year undergraduates and make the College a preferred destination for talented students, in particular those from less well-off backgrounds. (Some students may still wish to ‘live out’ but we already know the majority would prefer not to do so).
- Improve student welfare and make the College a more supportive place for those from all backgrounds who may otherwise find Oxford intimidating. We know that too many students who live out are unhappy with their experiences. They tell us so. By enabling undergraduates to live-in for three years, we can help them further to thrive and excel.
- Provide the college with financial income through expanded capacity for conferences and external events.
- Secure the future of the College, and sustain its financial health from rents that would otherwise go to private landlords.
- Extend the College’s footprint.
- Complete the recent physical transformation enabled by the Perrodo project.
Pledge by 31 December and your gift will be matched
A visionary, anonymous donor has recognised the transformational potential of the Castle Hill House Project, and wishes to celebrate Mark Damazer’s tenure as Master. They have gifted the College a maximum of £5m to match all your donations pledged before the end of 2019.
If you studied here during Mark’s time, the donor will match your gift at a ratio of 3:1. So if you donate £100 the donor will give £300. For all other gifts, the donor will match at a ratio of 2:1. The remainder of all gifts exceeding £500,000 will be matched 1:1.
Please make your gift today