Northern Ireland news

End of an era as demolition begins of Students' Union at Queen's University Belfast

Demolition work under way at the old Queen's University Students' Union building in south Belfast
Brendan Hughes

IT was the end of an era at Queen's University Belfast yesterday as demolition began of the old Students' Union building.

The building was first opened in 1967 and underwent a significant refurbishment in 2005, but closed its doors in 2018 to make way for a new Student Centre.

Plans for the new facility were approved in September and it is scheduled to open in 2021 to cater for the university's 24,000 students.

Alternative venues for the student body's activities and services have been organised for the years during construction.

The new building will consist of around 11,000 sq metres of floorspace across four storeys, with a contemporary glass-fronted design intended to integrate more closely with the streetscape.

It will provide facilities including the Students' Union, informal learning zones, a multi-purpose hall, SU Bar, and catering and retail outlets.

The design also includes a replacement for the live music venue Mandela Hall, which twice hosted U2 in the band's early days.

In a post online yesterday marking the start of demolition work, Queen's University Belfast's estates department described it as a "historic day".

The Queen's Alumni account on Twitter posted video footage of the demolition work.

"Somewhat sad to see it go. 50-plus years after it went up, they've started to pull down the former Students' Union," it said.

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