Topping out ceremony marks milestone for construction of Kemp Porter Building

A topping out ceremony has been held to celebrate reaching the highest point of structural construction work for Imperial’s newest halls of residence.

We want to improve our students’ experience by providing them with modern, first-class halls of residences. Muir Sanderson Chief Financial Officer, Imperial College London

Kemp Porter Buildings in North Acton is a 31 storey building and will be home to around 710 first year Imperial students when it opens later in 2020. Located just a few minutes from Woodward Buildings, the combined North Acton student community will soon represent the largest single cluster of Imperial students in the accommodation portfolio.

Shervin Sabeghi, Imperial College Union’s Deputy President (Welfare), and Muir Sanderson, the College’s Chief Financial Officer, laid the final piece of concrete on the building’s roof at a ceremony on Friday 11 October.

Speaking at the ceremony, Muir Sanderson said: “We want to improve our students’ experience by providing them with the modern, first-class halls of residences that they expect and that meet their needs. Kemp Porter Buildings will help deliver that commitment. I look forward to seeing them finished and ready to welcome students. Meanwhile, I want to express my gratitude to everyone who has contributed to getting us to this ‘high’ point.”

The Accommodation Strategy

The construction of Kemp Porter Buildings is a demonstration of the College’s continued investment in an improved student accommodation experience and will allow for the largest number of College-owned bed spaces in its history, following the renovation of Wilson House in 2014 and the construction of Woodward Buildings in 2015.

The development represents the final milestone of the College’s First Year Student Accommodation Strategy, which was drawn up in 2012. The strategy outlines the objective of establishing high-quality student communities which include en-suite bathrooms, utility spaces and communal areas.

I’m sure that these new Halls will help strengthen the already bustling Imperial community in North Acton Shervin Sabeghi Deputy President (Welfare), Imperial College Union

Kemp Porter will include around 710 bed spaces in cluster apartments, with en-suite bathrooms, open-plan kitchens and lounge spaces, a 24/7 concierge desk and a dedicated wardening team.

With the completion of Kemp Porter Buildings, the College is also undergoing a period of assessment for those halls of residence that do not meet the criteria of the Strategy. As part of this, and following consultation with the Imperial College Union, it is expected that Pembridge Gardens Hall and Parsons House will be removed from the first year portfolio of halls from the 2020-21 academic year.

Shervin Sabeghi said: “I’m glad that the College are providing more high-quality bed spaces for new students, and I’m sure that these new Halls will help strengthen the already bustling Imperial community in North Acton. Shovelling cement atop new halls was certainly not something I thought I’d do in this role, but it was very exciting to visit the new buildings!”

Paul Noke, the College’s Head of Residential Services, said: “Both Kemp Porter and Woodward Buildings represent more than just the construction of a halls of residence, but the building of a real student community in North Acton.”

“We set ourselves ambitious targets around the modernisation of our accommodation and I’m delighted that we are well on the way to achieving them. Since its construction, Woodward has been consistently our most popular and highly-rated halls, and I’m confident that Kemp Porter will be just as well-received.”

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