Nightclub on Campus: Senior university official backs plan

10669157_878426265503590_4834369581264143923_oThe first nightclub on campus could open ‘within months’ after a senior university official backed the plan.

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 s.maguire@yusu.org.”

[poll id=”52″]


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: vision@yusu.org

Jack Gevertz
Jack Gevertz is the former editor-in-chief of York Vision.

16 Comments

  1. Donald Donaldson
    18 November 2014 - 10:21 BST

    Of course YUSU are sceptical – this has the potential to damage those four weekly clubnight contracts worth £20k contracts.

    And saying that it’d be useful in Freshers Week isn’t quite right, given that colleges will need a minimum capacity of, like, 400 with Freshers and STYCs.

  2. Dr O
    18 November 2014 - 12:37 BST

    With the capacity of only 250 the new venue will be rather useless in Freshers Week. It will not compete with city centre nightclubs that can hold about 1000 people each. The main problem with organising big campus-based events is not lack of venues, but the costs of putting together an event (with regulation, lack of tech support and reluctance of bar operators – YUSU and Commercial Services – to share costs & risks).

    As far as openning an additional small-scale bar/club is concerned, it is disappointing that the Commercial Services are looking to invest into yet another venue in a college that already has two (Coutyard and D-Bar), while facilities at newer colleges (Constantine, Goodricke, Halifax and – to a lesser extent – Alcuin) remain extremely limited.

  3. Non-drinking student
    18 November 2014 - 13:46 BST

    If they want to give students an alternative, then why the frig are they building another drinking venue?

  4. Donald Donaldson
    18 November 2014 - 13:48 BST

    Nail on the head, Doctor.

  5. Ian
    18 November 2014 - 15:11 BST

    Oleg is boring

  6. Bobby
    18 November 2014 - 15:46 BST

    I reckon this could be a good thing, it will encourage nights like BlackBox and Breakz to keep pushing the alternative music scene and give them a platform to build on.

    Of course Yusu are terrified it’s going to damage their 4 in-town nights, that are all carbon copies in different venues. Maybe they should stop being so lazy and focus on trying to offer something different, rather than begging people to email points of complaint in.

  7. Lazer Horse
    18 November 2014 - 16:54 BST

    fulll mirrored wall cause everyone loves looking at what they look like when they’re drunk….so taccy

  8. This idea is stupid
    18 November 2014 - 18:20 BST

    This is an awful idea. Or rather a good idea that isn’t being done properly. 250 is far too small for a nightclub. Also mirrored walls, disco balls, only a 3AM closing time? Sounds tacky from the offset. The last thing York needs is another average club, it has a whole city of them. If they really wanted to make something like this work, the best thing they could do would be to copy a venue like the old Fibbers. Near enough 500 capacity, good for small gigs and club nights, somewhere that could give some music to York. York needs music venues, not another mini Salvation, Kuda, cheesy chart style venue.

  9. Anon
    18 November 2014 - 19:33 BST

    Sounds like it could have real potential, saying that it could be a disaster. Obviously something decent on campus is needed for students, other university student union nights on campus put us to shame. Though if this is gonna be another extortionate place to drink on campus (2.80 per pint) then why bother. A bigger venue would be required if it does go, it would be more convenient than trekking all the way to town I guess, I think YUSU are thinking of there money issues rather than what the students actually would like.

  10. 18 November 2014 - 23:22 BST

    The shark king is dead! Long may be the reign of the lizard king!

  11. Pw
    19 November 2014 - 20:58 BST

    Sounds like a good idea. The design? Let’s wait and see what it is.
    It’s good to have a venue on campus for late night socialising. Great for those not wanting to pay taxi and overpriced drinks.
    And it’s gotta be safer than the city.
    Will be a great venue for society events. 250 is a good number for this kind of event.
    Can’t wait,

  12. Currently Facepalming
    20 November 2014 - 13:26 BST

    What a terrible idea.

    For starters, it’ll end up being similar to the number of clubs already on offer in town. If we want a clubby night- which I’m not denying a lot of us do- then there’s plenty of options already in Salvation, Tokyo, Kuda, Revs, Willow, etc.

    As for the river safety bit- yes, very valid point, that’s something that needs tackling. However, a club on campus wouldn’t help that in the slightest. The £200,000 the campus club would cost could be put into initiatives such as the already existing NightSafe to improve the safety of town. For starters, the pollution in the lake, which is near to the site of the proposed club, means that were we to fall t to fall in it would quite possibly be more dangerous than the river- just think of the amount of duck crap in there, can’t be healthy :P Also, having a club on campus doesn’t mean people won’t go to town- most of us will still be going to town and still potentially being in danger of falling in the river. The money could be put towards making town safer, rather than a destined-to-fail punt towards supposedly using this as a method of keeping us away from town- we’re still going to go to town a fair bit even if there is one campus alternative for clubbing.

    Also, in case anyone at YUSU hasn’t noticed, clubs are loud, and people live on campus. People sleep on campus. People don’t want to have multiple club nights a week, every week, within hearing range of where they’re trying to rest at 2-3 in the morning. Were YUSU to implement that on campus, it would be highly inconsiderate and completely ignore the people this would really affect- the people living near it.

    This money could be put towards so many far better options, such as better river safety- the one thing that the idea of a campus club claims to be able to help, or it could be put towards providing more events that are different to what’s already available instead of a club, of which there’s already enough to have a good night out any day of the week. Hopefully this won’t go ahead and someone in charge will actually decide to do something useful with the funds instead!

  13. Pasc
    20 November 2014 - 17:08 BST

    They should scrap the idea and instead put the money towards another set of doors for the library

  14. Valid Point
    20 November 2014 - 17:30 BST

    @Currently Facepalming

    I endorse your views entirely up until the point where you are suggesting that YUSU is leading on this proposal.

    The article clearly states “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”.

    Perhaps YUSU distancing themselves from this suggests that they have the same reservations as you and many others?

    This would inevitably end up being a short term success and a med-long term flop and a huge embarrassment to whoever had put their name to it in the first place. IMO some key university decision makers will already be moving to distance themselves away from this impending disaster.

    Far better to spend the money on more water based wildlife – at least that way when students fell into the lake the geese could come to their rescue.

  15. This idea is stupid
    21 November 2014 - 18:25 BST

    If this idea is gonna be implemented, they might as well do it properly. Make a real sized club 500-1000 capacity or so. Look at other universities that have already sucessful students unions and copy ones that are successful. Although it would probably still end up as yet another Kuda, Salvo, Revs clone rather than anything genuinely exciting. If they really wanted to improve the nightlife of York students, they’d be much better off organising a regular bus service to Leeds and back. Which could be cheaper and more direct than trains and buses already in service and maybe get around the fact that the bus/train times are awkward for nights out. The last train back to York from Leeds is at 2, the first train is at 6 (if they offered a coach service that left Leeds around 4-4.30) then students could tailor their own night based around what’s on and leave whenever they felt like rather than being restricted only to the times of trains or the cost of a taxi back. YUSU could even negotiate cheaper entries on certain nights as well, if they felt like it. It seems silly to build a white elephant club, if it’s not going to be big enough for purpose or not going to offer anything drastically different from what’s already available to students and not take avantage of something that is actually already there (Leeds’s amazing club and gig scene).

  16. A Nonny Mouse
    22 November 2014 - 13:44 BST

    While it is useful to know that the university is looking at developing student spaces, they need to start thinking about how to make spaces more multi-functional and consider how to create movement through those spaces so that they are properly utilised. For instance, they need to focus on designing a building, not a club. Create a space for the sports teams to stay on during the day permanently that includes storage spaces for gear. Or, select seating styles that move around and allow the “club” to be transformed into study and student spaces during the day time. Create a large kitchen space for festivals and large student parties. We need to make our money do more for us.

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