The Diary: Crookes usher in new era at Union

Chris White and Sam Neagus
Chris White and Sam Neagus
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Sheffield University’s Students Union is to open for business this week after a £20 million revamp with a gig from band The Crookes who met on the dancefloor there.

The Western Bank building has undergone a massive redevelopment this summer with loads of new features.

These include an outdoor mini-amphitheatre, spectacular glass bridge connecting to the Octagon Centre, six state-of-the-art meeting rooms, an entire floor dedicated to student support services and a radically improved venue space for gigs and club nights.

These spaces are called Foundry, Studio and Fusion.

There is also a posh new restaurant on the five-storey building’s top floor which will be open to the public. It is called Inox Dine. Inox is another word for stainless steel.

The revamp is part of the university’s bid to ensure it keeps attracting students to Sheffield who, in an age of £9,000-a-year fees, are demanding more for their buck.

“Students are demanding a full experience – we have to meet that,” said Sam Neagus, development officer.

“They want a quality establishment where their needs are met; somewhere to get help from support services, get a bite for lunch and, of course, have a pint.

“Actually one of the biggest things we found in a survey was that more and more students just wanted a non-commercial place to sit and meet friends and course mates.

“So we’ve filled the new building with chairs and couches where people can gather. It will be very social.”

The building is officially opened on Thursday and the first band to play will be The Crookes.

The Crookes – made up of George Waite, Daniel Hopewell, Russell Bates and Tom Dakin – met on the dancefloor at the union’s Foundry venue when they were all students.

They formed a band, named it after the area of Sheffield where they lived and have since had some success.

They have released two full albums, one mini album and a skew of jaggedly romantic indiepop singles.

They say the gig for them will be something of a home-coming.

Tickets are £10 from www.shef.ac.uk/union