THE £11.5m Catherine Hughes building, which will provide bedrooms for 68 Somerville College students, is due to open next month.

A ceremony on Friday, October 4 will mark the completion of the complex construction project by Oxford-based contractor Beard.

Oxford Mail:

Designed by Niall McLaughlin Architects, the building features bedrooms arranged in clusters with kitchens and accessible rooms on every floor.

READ AGAIN: Covered Market sandwich shop closed for three days after mouse droppings found

There is a new seminar and reading room on the ground floor.

The red brick building, which was completed on time and on budget, faces Walton Street and can also be entered from the Oxford University college gardens.

Oxford Mail:

Jan Royall, Principal of Somerville College, said: "The Catherine Hughes building offers our students bright and beautiful places in which to live and study.

“I am delighted that we are now able to offer on-site accommodation to our undergraduates throughout their course of study.

READ AGAIN: Man who died in midnight crash is named

“This will enhance the collegiate atmosphere of Somerville and further strengthen the bonds between us.”

The first undergraduate residents move in this term.

This is the latest college building to be named after a Principal of Somerville, following on from Darbishire, Margery Fry, Park, Penrose and Vaughan.

Hughes (née Pestell) was Principal of Somerville between 1989 and 1996, and oversaw the College’s decision to admit male students.

Oxford Mail:

She was born in County Durham and came to St Hilda’s, Oxford after winning a scholarship to Leeds High School. She died in 2014 leaving a generous bequest to Somerville.

The 15m tall structural frame of the Catherine Hughes Building is constructed from cross-laminated timber panels, fabricated off-site and hoisted into position with the use of a tower crane.

This method of construction permitted a reduction in deliveries to the site by 80 per cent compared to more traditional methods.

READ AGAIN: Town identified for town's super surgery

An archaeological evaluation of the construction site discovered evidence of an earthwork beneath it, which is likely to relate to a Civil War defensive network around Oxford.

During the Civil War, Oxford was the Royalist capital.

There are also remains of some nineteenth-century buildings, including a stone-lined well.