University of the Highlands and Islands opens residences on Inverness Campus
The University of the Highlands and Islands has opened new student residences on Inverness Campus. Students are moving into the £6 million facility this week in time for the start of the new academic year. The development, which was built by Robertson Northern, will provide accommodation for up to 150 students a year in single rooms with shared kitchens and studio rooms with private cooking facilities.
Fiona Larg, the university’s chief operating officer and secretary, said: “We are delighted with our new residences on Inverness Campus and are excited to see students settling into them for the first time. Students are at the heart of what we do and the provision of suitable accommodation is an important asset in supporting current students and attracting new ones.”
Robertson Northern started work on the residences in September 2015. Frank Reid, regional director of Robertson Northern, explained: “Despite extremely challenging conditions, we were able to complete the build in good time for the new academic year. By using pre-fabricated frames from our specialist timber frame division, we were able to reduce construction time without comprising on design, quality or cost - helping to ensure Inverness students have access to first-rate accommodation well ahead of schedule.”
The Inverness development is part of the university’s project to build and operate residences around the Highlands and Islands. A 40-bed facility opened in Fort William this summer and the university has plans to build residences in other locations, including Elgin and Dornoch.
Specialist developer, Cityheart, is responsible for the construction and operation of the university’s new residences. Group development director Patrick Hughes said: “Cityheart is delighted to have had the opportunity to work with the university in the development of student accommodation in Inverness. The project has been an exciting one for us and we look forward to welcoming students into the development.”
The residences share their location on Inverness Campus with Inverness College UHI, one of 13 individual colleges and institutions forming the University of the Highlands and Islands network. Speaking of the announcement, Diane Rawlinson, principal and chief executive at Inverness College UHI, said:
“The new Inverness College UHI facility was the first to open at Inverness Campus last summer. The new student residences will certainly be a welcome addition to the thriving Inverness Campus community, providing city accommodation for many of the students we welcome from across the UK and beyond each year.”
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is developing the 215-acre Inverness Campus site as a nationally and internationally significant location for business, research and education, with a culture of collaboration, particularly in life sciences. HIE’s Inverness Campus project director, Ruaraidh MacNeil, commented:
“The vision for Inverness Campus as a place where business, research and education co-exist and collaborate is fast becoming a reality. A vibrant university sector is a crucial part of this and essential to a successful region. This phase of student accommodation will help meet the growing demand here, close to Inverness College UHI and within easy reach of the city centre and local services.”
Lizzie Munro, a fourth year BA (Hons) Scottish history student, is a senior resident at the new accommodation facility. She praised the development, saying: “I think the new residences are fantastic and a great opportunity for more students from outside of Inverness to come and study at the University of the Highlands and Islands and Inverness College UHI. It will also give the campus a greater sense of community.”