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College looks to the future after finding a new home
INTERNATIONAL students at a private college in Oxford will learn in the luxury of newly-refurbished classrooms after being forced out of their old home.
Oxford International College has started moving its classrooms and offices into Cherwell House at 1 London Place, the former home of Science Oxford.
It will cater for its 60 full-time students aged 15 to 21 from across the world in new accommodation after a £150,000 refurbishment.
The college was forced to leave its former premises at The Oxford Centre for Innovation in New Road after owners the Oxford Trust invoked a break-clause in its five-year rental contract.
College director Mario Peters, said the new buildings were a “silver lining” to the bad news. He said: “It was a disappointment and a surprise, but now we have a 20-year lease and we’re spending about £150,000 on doing the place up. We’re going to rename the building International College House and we’re looking forward to moving in.”
The college had only been in New Road for two years after moving from a building in Hythe Bridge Street, now home to the Carfax Tutorial Establishment.
Dr Peters confirmed the college had also expressed an interest in a building in New Inn Hall Street and a unit in the Westgate centre. But he said talks took too long, and concerns about how the Westgate redevelopment would affect the college made him change his mind.
The college will occupy the ground, first and third floors from the start of term on September 2, eventually taking on the second floor when another tenant moves out. The redevelopment will include refurbished classrooms, labs and an art room, with large communal areas, a private garden patio and off-road parking.
Oxford Trust head of finance and operations Malcolm Hay said: “The trust, which supports science and enterprise as Science Oxford, plans to move its own offices into the building in early September, and to provide more space to support early stage, innovative companies.
“The Oxford Centre for Innovation (OCFI) has been highly successful in helping early stage firms to set up and grow and there has been a waiting list for some time.
“The Oxford Trust is looking forward to supporting many more local firms at OCFI, as well as taking forward its own plans for developing the site for its new science centre The Magnet.”
St Clement’s councillor Bev Clack said the college would be a welcome addition to the area. Professor Clack said: “It’s keeping the education use on the site, which is good. ”
The college’s chief operating officer Kim Terrar said he was “delighted”, adding: “We can design it with our students in mind.”