St Edmund Hall’s new accommodation is part of the college’s plan to house all its undergraduate students for the entirety of their course rather than finding private accommodation in second year, potentially saving students time, money, and stress.
Currently, only 60% of students can live in college-owned accommodation, and very few undergraduates have the option of living in college-owned accommodation for the entirety of their course.
Teddy Hall has said the project would save students £2000 in housing costs as they would not have to seek expensive private accommodation. As a result, the college claims that the new site would “improve access to higher education for those from low-income backgrounds.”
Nevertheless, accommodation at Teddy Hall is not cheap in comparison with other Colleges; a first-year room in the college itself costs £28.85 a night.
Second-year students usually have to rent privately and Teddy Hall’s website recommends: “that you start your search for second-year private-rental accommodation halfway through your first term”.
One student described the process as “very stressful”, especially “having to find people to live with after not knowing them for very long”.
Other students detailed the strain that house-hunting placed on academic work with organising calls and house visits during term time or instead of going to lectures.
The new development includes 127 study bedrooms and communal facilities and is on the college’s Norham Gardens site, currently used for postgraduate accommodation, off Banbury Road. The new site will therefore be a 22-minute walk from St Edmund Hall. Nevertheless, most students currently live further from the College on Iffley or Cowley Road.
Professor Baroness Kathrine Willis, principal of the College, said: “This once-in-a-generation development for the Hall … embodies care for two precious things – our students and our planet.”
The accommodation is part of the College’s aims to move towards net zero in energy use and to encourage biodiversity with an estimated 88% net gain in biodiversity over the site.
The architects – Wright & Wright Architects – have also designed various buildings around Oxford including for St John’s College and have said that the new development is likely to be finished in 2025, with work to start later this year.
The building will welcome its first students in the autumn of 2026.