Skip to main content
St Catharine's College, Cambridge Search

Update on recent and upcoming works

The following information has been shared with the College’s students, staff and Fellows by email by the Operations Director.

Last updated: 25 March 2021

The early phases of the Central Spaces project have gone smoothly and the end of term also seemed like a good moment to share information about the works scheduled for the next few months so we can all plan accordingly.

Update on recent progress

  • The demolition phase is in full swing, as those of us living and working on the Island site will have been able to see and hear. The old Hall is being pulled down carefully so we can replace it with a modern, accessible space for our community to enjoy from June 2022. Thank you to everyone in College at the moment for your patience and tolerance of these essential (but undoubtedly noisy) works.
  • Work has been completed on the staircase in McGrath Centre. Moving this staircase has delivered immediate benefits by creating more space and light in the foyer, and by improving access from student rooms to areas of College such as the coffee bar/bar, the Shakeshaft Library and the McGrath Centre itself. You are reminded that the space is available for use by students to book out for studying and socialising with other members of a household. We are currently consulting student representatives on whether changes are needed to these arrangements to enable us to continue to support our students in the coming weeks.
  • Longer term, these stairs and the new Hall will connect via a light and bright Garden Room and atrium, which will be built during later phases of the project to provide much-needed direct and accessible routes between different facilities at the heart of the College.

Update on planning and designs

We now have interior designers supporting us on the Central Spaces project. Our user groups (made up of representatives from across the St Catharine’s community) are helping us to make final decisions on various design elements and interior finishes.

Initial work has been completed to assess the brickwork from a historic wall that would have been fully exposed as a feature of the new atrium. Sadly, we have learnt that the wall is in poor condition and it is not possible to restore it as we had hoped. Our architects are currently developing plans for an alternative ‘vision’ for the space and I will be in touch to share more about this new direction in the near future.

Looking ahead: What to expect March–June




Late March to Early April

1. Continued demolition of the old Hall, including:

  • removal of temporary propping in the basement
  • removal of structural and non-structural walls within the basement and first floor


2. Continued mechanical, electrical and plumbing works

1. Potential noise disruption

2. Potential for small periods of services disruptions (affected members of our community will be given advance notice)


Mid April to June

Installation of scaffolding

Potential noise disruption

Mid April to June

Installation of the permanent steelwork to underside of the first and second floors

Crane will be lifting various steelwork during the day

Typically, contractors will be working 8am–6pm Monday to Friday, with noisy works restricted to 9am–5.30pm. There will be a noise-free period from 12.30–1.30pm each day. There have been one or two instances of the contractors doing noisy works outside of permitted hours. They have been very responsive when this has been pointed out to them so do let us know of any problems.

We anticipate there will also need to be some activity at weekends to keep the project on schedule for June 2022. We have given permission for work to happen on the following days, but please let us have your feedback if this becomes too noisy or disruptive.

  • 27 March
  • 3 April
  • 10 April
  • 17 April
  • 24 April

Find out more about our major building projects.