Exeter students are spending the first month of Michaelmas in a four-star hotel in Wolvercote as planned accommodation in Cohen Quad remains incomplete.
86 students have moved into Jury’s Inn Hotel on the roundabout at the top of Woodstock Road, past Summertown until a provisional date of October 31. Cohen Quad was planned to be completed on August 11, however that date was later changed to October 6 and college was informed at the beginning of September that this would also not be possible.
Exeter College is covering all accommodation costs until students take up occupancy at Cohen Quad and students have received free breakfasts, as well as bus passes to travel into central Oxford.
The hotel has 168 “stylish” rooms, equipped with free Wi-Fi, en-suite bathrooms, fl at screen TVs with Freeview and trouser presses, according to its website. It also has a fully-equipped gym, squash courts, steam room, indoor splash-pools and beauty rooms.
A spokesperson from Exeter College told Cherwell, “There is no single reason as to why the building is delayed: the site and building are complex and it has taken longer to complete than anticipated. We are concerned that all of our students, particularly our Finalists, have not been moved into Cohen Quad and are doing everything we can to mitigate the impact that this change in accommodation has on their studies and College experience.
“We booked the hotel the day after we received notice from the contractors that they would not achieve the 6th October occupation date. We were careful in our choice of hotel to ensure that all of our students were housed together in suitable accommodation. Although it is further out from the City centre than we would have liked, keeping them together, as a cohort, was felt to be vitally important for social, emotional, and security issues.
“The whole College community remains excited and enthusiastic about what Cohen Quad will achieve for this and future generations of Exeter students. Cohen Quad will not only provide fantastic facilities (including a café, learning commons, study spaces, common room, auditorium – and of course student study bedrooms) but is in the heart of Oxford and the city, just a few minutes’ walk from our historic site. We’re proud of what we’re building but deeply frustrated by the delay and the impact that this will have on our students. To that end, we’re working closely with them to help mitigate the impact of this unexpected change in accommodation and put in place measures that will ensure their safety and preserve the Exeter collegiate community, albeit in north Oxford.”
JCR President Harry Williams, who is personally aff ected by the issues regarding accommodation, commented, “Of course I was disappointed to hear that the development would not be completed on time, but I am pleased with the way the college have handled the situation so far.”
Scaffolding was removed from the front façade of the Cohen Quad on Wednesday, “revealing the stunning new roof and beautifully cleaned stonework”, however the accommodation is still not ready.
Exeter College purchased Ruskin College’s campus on Walton Street in 2010 in order to create a “third quad” in the heart of Oxford. The new site, designed by Alison Brooks Architects, will off er teaching and study space, a lecture theatre, a café, 90 student bedrooms, sets for Fellows and archive space for the College’s special collections. Exeter third year Flora Hudson, who is supposed to be living in Cohen Quad, commented, “I think college have done the best they could with a bad situation—everyone seems pretty happy with the arrangement.”
A common room has been created at the hotel, and college staff will have an office on site seven days a week. The hotel also has a fully-equipped gym, squash courts, steam room, indoor splash-pool and beauty rooms. The Jury’s Inn Hotel have been contacted for comment.