A NEW building taking shape at Arts University Bournemouth will provide housing for 300 students.

A ceremony was held to break ground on the new halls, which will be arranged in eight-bedroom “clusters”.

The rooms will have communal kitchens and dining areas surrounding a landscaped courtyard.

Nick Welch, the university’s chief operating officer said: “The AUB campus is where our students experiment, innovate and push boundaries and work with industry-standard technology and spaces to equip them for life in the creative industries.

"With this project, we hope to provide a home for our students where they can thrive, whilst continuing to provide a creative hub, designed for specialists."

Mr Welch told the Daily Echo it would benefit many students to be living near the campus’s facilities, especially those studying subjects such as computer design, architecture and visual effects.

"They need to be working with the high end technology we provide," he said.

He said he expected the tenants to be “self-selecting”, with students who wanted a livelier nightlife choosing to live in the town centre.

More than 100 trees will be planted around the site and the development will include improved pedestrian and cycle routes nearby, as well as street lighting.

Tom Marshall, head of campus services, said the university was not expecting a big rise in student numbers but was offering existing students more choice.

“It’s about the numbers as they are. The numbers over the next few years are forecast to plateau,” he said.

He said local residents’ opinions had been taken on board. More trees have been added and the height of the buildings was reduced from four storeys to three.

“We started off by having a consultation where we invited members of the public to come and see the plans. There have been regular consultations with the local residents’ association as well, to present how the project is developing,” he said.

Nick Welch said the university was keen to be in touch with its residential neighbours. “We would love the local community to know what we’re doing. We would like them to become more engaged,” he said.

Residents were welcome at the exhibitions held every term and at theatre productions.

“We leaflet local people to let them know about all those things. We really want them to feel welcome on campus,” he said.

The new building was designed by Design Engine Architects, which created many of the existing university buildings, and is being developed by Morgan Sindall Construction. Around 20 jobs will be created, using local subcontractors where possible.