David Duncan, the University Registrar and Secretary, said plans by the Director of Commercial Services, Jon Greenwood, to turn the squash courts at Derwent College into a permanent clubbing venue would be “excellent” for students.
It’s understood that Mr Greenwood wants £200,000 from the university to turn the building, now largely used by several sports societies, into an 11pm to 3am nightclub, complete with a mirrored wall, disco ball, elevated DJ booth and a lounge with seating area.
It is hoped that the club could be open for a minimum of 2 days a week with more if colleges and students want to run their own events.
The venue, which could open by the end of the academic year, would be licensed by the university commercials team and would have no involvement from YUSU.
Mr Greenwood insists that the idea could save lives by keeping students away from rivers.
“We haven’t agreed the funding yet because budgets have already been allocated,” Mr Greenwood told York Vision.
“But we are looking to spend around £200,000 to change it and turn it into a club.”
Short-term, the building could still be used by sports clubs during the day, but long-term it is expected that an agreement can be formed with those who do use it so they can be moved permanently.
Part of the £200,000 funding would be used to up capacity inside the club from 150 to 250 by adding extra fire doors.
Sam Maguire, the YUSU President, said the nightlife in the city should be protected.
“The proposals for the nightclub are in their infancy, we are interested to work with the university to explore the possibility,” he said.
“It may potentially provide an alternative event space on campus for students to use which is an obvious plus particularly during Freshers’ week.
“However, an integral part of the York student experience is the city nightlife and this should be protected.”
He added: “River safety is obviously extremely important and particularly prevelant after the incidents of the past year but the initiatives set up in the wake of those unfortunate events such as NightSafe appear to be making a positive impact so while river safety should be considered it shouldn’t be a deciding factor in the proposals as our students will always go in to town.”
The move comes after an undergraduate set up a club-style event, BlackBox, in the same place.
The event hosted two nights, in May and in June, and played live music from local DJs in York.
“Students will still visit clubs in town, but it would be great to have the option of a venue on campus,” David Duncan told York Vision.
“We would ensure that the nightclub is fully accessible by disabled students and provides a safe environment. The club could be booked by colleges or clubs and prices would be favourable compared to venues in town.”
The club still needs to have its plans approved by further senior members of management and then be taken to the City of York Council.
It is hoped that the venue could be given a multi-use license including live music so a range of events can be hosted.
“Once we get the plans sorted, we hope we could get it up and running pretty quickly,” Mr Greenwood said.
“It would be good to give students an alternative, and somewhere else to go, so that they don’t have to go into town if they don’t want to.
“Ultimately, we would like to know whether students think this is a good idea or not.”
Phoebe Coughlan, a first year archaeology student, said she thought the prospect of a club opening was “exciting”.
“It should be good fun if there is a good DJ etc,” she said.
“I know there is a successful one in Newcastle so if it is created by the right hands it will be a great endeavour.”
Sam Maguire added: “‘I would really like to know whether students would welcome an on-campus nightclub as there may be better options to spend £200,000 on than a nightclub. Please contact me on [email protected]”
GOT A NAME?
The University Registrar and Secretary, David Duncan, wants York Vision to find a permanent name for the club.
If it gets the full green light, your suggestion could end up emblazoned on signs around the new venue.
Got a suggestion? Email: [email protected]