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Students left stunned by 'special atmosphere' of Leicester Castle Business School

The first De Montfort University (DMU) students to take lectures in the restored Leicester Castle have said the building’s ‘special atmosphere’ makes them want to work harder.

The university has spent £4.2 million refurbishing the Grade I listed property, giving the previously-disused building a new lease of life as the home of Leicester Castle Business School.

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And on Monday (March 6) the first students were welcomed through the castle’s elaborate front doors – which in nearly 1,000 years of history have welcomed kings, queens and famous writers – to take their first lectures.

Russian student Karina Mirgalimova, studying Business Management in the Creative Industries MSc, said her first lecture in the building had left her amazed.

The 23-year-old said: “You come into the building and you feel different, special. There’s no other place like it. Something about the history you can see around you makes you want to work harder, to live up to it, I suppose.”

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Polish student Daniel Czyzak, studying Global Leadership and Management BSc, said: “There’s something so brilliant about being in the court rooms to learn. It’s a unique atmosphere and there is a lot of space to meet up with other students and talk things through. It’s fun just to explore it all.”

The extensive restoration has seen the two grand rooms – formerly used as court rooms - to the left and right of the main entrance hall repurposed as lecture and seminar rooms.

CASTLE STUDENTS (3)

Many of the original furniture and features have been kept and restored, creating a unique blend of the historical and the modern. Throughout the building period, DMU worked closely with heritage experts to ensure the restoration retained the impact and character of the castle’s remarkable history.

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Under high, vaulted ceilings, the strikingly-lit rooms are dramatic teaching and learning space, allowing lecturers to present 'in the round' to an audience seated on the plush re-upholstered benches and watching from the high viewing balcony.

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The exterior of the building has been cleaned up and restored, with fresh coats of paint on the window frames. A new disabled access ramp has been installed on the smaller of the two front entrances.

Through the main entrance a spacious reception area is floored with original tilework, with doorways the former courtrooms on the left and right hand side.

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And upstairs, a stylish executive lounge is made light and airy through the huge front-facing window at one end, looking out across the grass castle yard towards the church of St Mary de Castro.

There are also numerous meeting and study rooms throughout, including one in the restored castle vault.

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Lydia George, who is a second year Media Production student, was among a party of students who were given a tour of the new building.

Lydia said: “It is an amazing building. I love the fact we have all the traditional features and a modern twist. If I were to walk into the court room for a lecture I would be blown away. It is such a cool place to study.”

Ollie McGrath, head of programming at Demon FM student radio station, said: “This is a really impressive building. It is great that we now have a campus that mixes the old with the new to such a great effect.”

Posted on: Thursday 09 March 2017

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