Student Facilities

Student Facilities – What’s on offerInformation Technology FacilitiesLibrary and Technical Learning Resources FacilitiesCatering FacilitiesSports and Leisure Facilities

Facilities Available at CI

We are continually working to improve our resources to help you with your studies. There are a number of resources available at both our Colchester and Braintree sites, and these are open to all students. We’re incredibly proud of the strong sense of community among staff and students that exists across the College, with over 4,000 students studying at our main Colchester campus and many more based at our sister sites in Braintree and Harwich.

Our campuses have a fantastic range of facilities for you to enjoy – from places to relax where you can meet with friends, to dedicated study areas where you can get on with your work. There are on-site food and beverage facilities (see the Catering tab for more) so you can get a bite to eat at breakfast or lunch, and grab a coffee or cake between your classes. Our Higher Education Centre provides a great range of specialist facilities including well-equipped teaching spaces and private study areas.

There are excellent facilities for students including dance and drama studios, recording studios and two iMac suites running Logic, Reason, Sibelius and Soundtrack Pro. We also have a concert hall and practice rooms for bands and orchestras. Our in-house theatre in Swinburne Hall, isn’t just an ideal practice space for students of the dramatic arts – it’s also a great place to catch ground-breaking performances throughout the year.

We have a great reputation for sports and recreation at Colchester Institute and, when you see our sport and fitness facilities, you’ll understand why. With an on-site gym, and a wide range of competitive sports opportunities, you’ll find that it’s easy to stay active across our campuses.

Colchester Institute has an extensive modern computer network with over 1,000 computers available for student use. All students have their own personal accounts with Internet access and email. The network is equipped with up-to-date word processing, spreadsheet, database and graphics applications software.

In addition, some suites have specialist software available such as AutoCAD, Sage Accounting, QuarkXPress and Photoshop. There are a number of areas with high specification computers for e-learning. This type of learning is increasingly popular with students because it adds a new dimension to their course.

There are Libraries at Colchester and Braintree campuses offering a range of services. There are over 100,000 resources which include books, academic journals, DVDs, CDs, music scores and online information sources designed to support you with your studies. We also have a range of equipment for you to borrow to enhance your work, such as cameras, digital audio recorders, video cameras, microphones and CD players.

Please click an area below for more information.

The Library

Library Help and Support

Learning Resources staff will give you friendly, helpful advice to enable you to make the best use of the services here. To find out more, visit the Library’s portal pages; you can also search the Library Catalogue for resources. To join the Library, bring your student ID card to one of the staffed desks in the Library; once you have signed up you can begin borrowing immediately. You must always have your ID card with you to borrow anything.

As part of your course induction you will meet a Learning Resources Adviser, the information specialist for your course, who will show you how to make best use of the facilities and resources available to you. The Advisers offer sessions to help you find information, to improve your search skills and understand your search results, and to use Harvard referencing. If you need help with finding resources for an assignment you can get in touch with the Adviser for your subject area for one-to-one help throughout the year.

Online Resources

The Library subscribes to around 30 online databases and web resources covering an extensive range of subject areas and has full-text access to over 4,000 electronic journals and newspapers as well as a range of e-books; these are accessible both on and off campus.

There are a variety of study spaces available in the Library, including a seminar room that be used for group work or to practice presentations. You may also book a computer in the Library from over thirty open-access PCs that are available.

Opening Hours

Colchester (first floor South Wing)
Colchester Institute Library, Sheepen Road, Colchester CO3 3LL
Braintree (STEM Centre)
The College at Braintree Library, Church Lane, Braintree CM7 5SN
Term time Holiday time Term time Holiday time
Monday 8am -6.30pm Monday 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday 8am – 4:30pm Please check opening hours before visiting
Tuesday to Thursday 8am – 8pmTuesday to Thursday 8:30am – 5:00pmTuesday to Thursday 8am – 4:30pmPlease check opening hours before visiting
Friday 8am – 4:30pm Friday 8:30am – 4:30pm Friday 8am – 4pm Open by arrangement only in the summer
Saturday Closed Saturday Closed Saturday Closed Saturday Closed

You can contact us in person, by email or by phone:
Email: library.helpdesk@colchester.ac.uk
Telephone: (01206) 712642

Email: braintree.library@colchester.ac.uk
Telephone: (01206) 814040

Technical Learning Resources

Technical Learning Resources (TLR) offers a wide range of facilities, services, support and advice, regardless of academic level and with the minimum of formality. It is an open resource for all learners and the friendly and approachable TLR team offer technical advice, one-to-one support and group workshops to help you use the TLR resources and facilities.The main TLR Helpdesk is located at Colchester in the Resources Zone, above Eat Central; some services are available from the Libraries at Braintree and Colchester.

Resources and Studios

Loan equipment is available (via the Libraries and Resources Zone) for you to borrow, including point-and-shoot digital cameras, SLR cameras, video cameras, audio recorders, laptops and a wide variety of accessories. TLR offer inductions on all equipment and can help you to understand how best to use the resources in your work.

In addition to the loan equipment that is available, TLR offers a range of specialist facilities for student use on the Colchester campus. These include a television studio, video editing suites, an audio studio and digital imaging facilities along with Adobe Creative Suite. If you are studying media, drama or graphic design, you will soon get to know these facilities but many other students benefit from using them too and they are available to all.  Sophisticated equipment may be borrowed with no more formality than borrowing a book from a library. The latest technology is always under development for the benefit of students and staff.

Most courses call for written assignments, but there will also be opportunities to work with sound and vision. A short video sequence, prepared using our camcorders and post-production suites, is often an acceptable alternative to a written essay or report. Colchester Institute is dedicated to helping you lay a firm foundation for a successful career. Alongside a sound training in your chosen vocation, an ability to communicate is essential for success. Technical Learning Resources can provide direct experience in the latest communication media.

Help and Support

TLR staff are available to explain to you how to use the equipment and to provide advice on techniques and shortcuts to get the most from the equipment and studios. TLR also offers services such as dubbing, duplicating, DVD printing and file conversions as well as laminating and binding services. In the Library and the TLR Centre there are machines for copying, scanning and printing available for student use.

Opening Hours

Term TimeOpensCloses
Monday – Thursday8:30 am5:00 pm
Friday8:30 am4:30 pm
Saturday and SundayClosed
Holiday TimeOpensCloses
Monday – FridayBy appointment

Contact TLR

You can contact us in person, by email or by phone:

Catering Facilities

Colchester Institute provides a wide range of catering facilities for students, staff and visitors.

Whether your looking to sit down with a hot meal for lunch or you have to shoot off to a class and have no time to sit down and eat, our refectories offer tasty food at even tastier prices. If your on the move, whatever you fancy, be it a Costa or Starbucks coffee, a sandwich, a bacon roll, salad-to-go, some chips, fruit or a bit of cheeky chocolate – you’ll find the treat for you.

There are a number of in-house options for food and drink, with refectories offering a selection of breakfast options, main meals, drinks and snacks. Students can choose between healthy meals cooked on the premises, sandwiches and grab-and-go options.

At our Colchester campus students can also eat food prepared and served by our catering students and there are even Costa Coffee shops on-campus. There are daily meal deals offered at each campus with choices of hot or cold options to help students to budget, and to fit in with the Free Meals at College daily allowance.


Colchester Campus has a fully equipped gym and sports halls on-site.

At the Colchester campus students are able to join the newly-equipped College gym, which features ultra-modern equipment including the latest cardiovascular machines, free weights and ‘Tanita’ scales which monitor and measure body composition. The suite of high-tech apparatus includes ergonomically designed non-motorised treadmills that give the athlete the experience of running at full speed and ‘smart’ fitness equipment with interactive consoles that store personalised training programmes and connect with personal devices. Click here to visit the Colchester Gym.