Student Central is closing down and removing its pool

Birkbeck is purchasing the building’s lease

The infamous “student hub” known as Student Central is closing down and some of the facilities available are being removed, including the swimming pool that is used by many students and societies.

Birkbeck are currently in the process of purchasing the lease on the building, located on Malet Street on University of London campus.

Students’ Union UCL announced this on their Instagram and Twitter recently.

The Student Central building has been accessible to all students studying at any of the universities that make up the University of London. It boasts access to “sports, networking, training, social events and the largest indoor pool in Central London”, and they also have “three bars, a fully equipped gym and fitness classes”. The facilities have been available for members of the general public to access.

However, it looks like the building will not be Student Central for much longer. University of London will be closing Student Central, and as a result, “Birkbeck University is finalising the purchase of the lease on the Student Central building from the University of London”, according to the Students’ Union UCL website.

Student Central, Senate House, Birkbeck

Birkbeck and Senate House

The website continues, saying: “The University of London has now told students that the swimming pool and gym will be closing permanently.

“The pool is the largest in Central London and used regularly by thousands of students from all universities in the area. There are few alternative pools nearby, all Central London pools are heavily used, and none have the capacity to absorb all the current users from the Student Central pool. Because of the size and depth of the pool, the closest equivalent is over 45 minutes away in Bethnal Green.

“Closing the facility will hit students hard. Sports clubs provide opportunities for students to find a community, develop, compete, and improve their mental health through physical activity – these clubs are now left without a home. The pool is used by clubs in the local community too, staff across the University of London and people of all backgrounds who enjoy swimming.

“When so much effort is spent improving the health and wellbeing of people in our community of universities and beyond, removing this precious resource comes as direct opposition to the values and mission of the University of London.”

In an attempt to save the pool, a campaign has been started with the hashtag #SaveUoLPool, and there is an open letter/petition that students can add their name to, in an effort to keep the pool open for “students, staff and the local community”.

This is summarised in a video posted to the Students’ Union UCL Twitter account, where Ilyas Benmouna, the Students’ Union UCL activities officer, says:

“Behind me is the Student Central building which is being sold to Birkbeck University. Birkbeck University are planning on removing all of the activity space and getting rid of the swimming pool, which is devastating to all of our students. Our clubs and societies use this pool extensively, and loads of our students use it. So, join the campaign, sign the open letter and save the pool.”

But Birkbeck claim that they are not the people getting rid of the swimming pool. When approached for comment, a spokesperson said:

“The pool and facilities at Student Central were closed by the University of London prior to our coming into the lease.

“The University asked its member institutions to make proposals for a long lease on the building and Birkbeck is delighted that its submission was successful. This will transform Birkbeck’s ability to fulfil its unique mission of widening access to higher education by bringing its teaching to the heart of the College.

“Instead of teaching in spaces dispersed across multiple locations rented from many providers, which our students consistently tell us has a negative effect on their studies, we now look forward to having high quality teaching, learning and student social space of our own and on campus. This will dramatically improve the experience of students who study with us.”

Have you been a regular user of the facilities available at Student Central? Let us know how you feel about the facilities and Student Central closing on The Tab London socials.

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