Bristol University Invests in Shipping Container Campus
One of the top universities in the UK, Bristol University, is reaching out to people in a deprived area of the city with plans to build a shipping container-based campus to help them access education.
The university has a bit of a bad name locally, with over 30% of its students from private education and students known as ‘Oxford rejects’. However, its educational reputation puts it within the top five universities in the country.
Students at Bristol University are part of the ‘elite’ in a very working class city with many areas of extreme deprivation. There is a class divide in the city and the university is in the upper half of that divide.
Bristol University has tried over the years to reach out to locals who might otherwise fail to get onto its degree courses. The working class district, Barton Hill, is close to the city centre but thanks to the River Avon and railway tracks, is badly disconnected from the centre itself.
As far back as the early 1900s the university tried to reach out to Barton Hill. According to the Guardian newspaper, “Barton Hill Settlement, a community centre offering services from legal advice to bringing people together for barbecues….was actually set up by the university in 1911. The idea then was that Bristol staff and students would live there and spread enlightenment: it was a radically liberal community, supporting campaigns, such as votes for women and feeding the families of local workers when they went on strike.” This effort dwindled and died out completely in the 1970s. Only now is the university trying to reach out to the district again.
The plan is for Bristol University to create the Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus at Barton Hill, composed of repurposed shipping containers. Here local residents can further their education and do university access and vocational courses. Residents often have had to give up education for personal reasons associated with family crisis and other problems in the community.
The theory is therefore that those who have the capability should be able to get into one of the top universities in the UK – or certainly further themselves.
Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus
Set for completion in 2022 the campus will comprise three shipping containers for teaching and learning. Alongside these containers are to be three more containers for students to stay in. The bedsits will be for those who might need to get away from chaos at home or simply as somewhere that provides an affordable rent in a city that, thanks to gentrification, are often too high for ordinary folk to pay.
Joanna Holmes, CEO of the Barton Hill Settlement, explained to the Guardian that many of the residents in the district are victims of the UK’s ‘low pay economy’. She said, “A lot of our families have two adults working three jobs between them; working all hours of the day and night. They get basic qualifications and then drop out of the system because there is nothing that fits their lives. It makes it hard to break out”.
Essentially the new campus is for people to aspire to better paying jobs thanks to getting the education they need to achieve them. This might not involve getting a degree at the university but doing industry-related vocational courses.
Shipping container advantages
The chief advantage of the shipping container concept is that buildings can be put together cheaply and achieve high return on investment. For Bristol University, a low-cost investment in the infrastructure to enable this project can yield high returns in people breaking out of poverty. Its ROI will be in the achievements of the locals and them reaching their aspirations in life.
Gateway Containers can help with your project
Could you be thinking of a project like this to inject aspiration and achievement into an otherwise depressed and poverty-ridden Australian community? Give Gateway Container Sales a shout today and let’s discuss getting you some containers onto that site!