University of Aberdeen backs £50m plan to revitalise historic campus
The University of Aberdeen’s ambition for a multi-million-pound revamp of its historic King’s College campus has moved forward after its governing body approved £50 million investment plans.
The vote paves the way for formal planning applications for the delivery of a “world-class” learning experience to be submitted to Aberdeen City Council by spring 2020.
The plans - part of a wider package of ongoing and proposed campus regeneration projects with a combined cost of almost £100m - include a new home for the University of Aberdeen Business School, plus sweeping improvements to the University’s historic core, to deliver new teaching and learning space while maintaining and drawing upon its unique heritage.
Central to this major investment is an anticipated growth in the University’s student population over the next 10 years, requiring enhanced teaching and learning facilities to meet the needs of students and staff.
The plans will see the Business School relocate from its current home in the MacRobert Building to a new single-site home in the currently dormant Johnston Halls, which will undergo a major refurbishment.
This will include a landmark new pavilion housing flexible, accessible teaching and learning facilities, including state-of-the-art lecture and seminar space. A large central foyer will provide additional social space, and will be used for exhibition and public engagement activities.
Meanwhile, plans to enhance facilities in the immediate area of King’s College include a new flagship atrium, with connections to surrounding buildings that will be repurposed to meet the needs of a growing student population.
The work will see improvements to the interiors of a number of areas of King’s College, including the Old Senate Wing, Book Stack and Cromwell Tower, revitalising the historic centre of campus with quality new teaching and learning space while maintaining the magnificent facades of these historic buildings.
Options will also be explored as to how the enhancements might bolster external engagement activities, given the University’s place at the heart of the community and its appeal as a destination and venue.
The new Business School is scheduled to open by summer 2022, while the King’s College improvements are expected to be completed the following summer.
University of Aberdeen principal and vice-chancellor, Professor George Boyne, said: “This major investment in our campus comes at a time when the University is planning for future growth, and marks the latest phase of a number of improvements to our King’s College campus, including our new Science Teaching Building where work is already underway.
“As we plan for the future it is crucial that we remain equipped to meet the needs of modern students with contemporary, flexible and technology-ready facilities that regenerate underused space in our historic campus, while maintaining the unique heritage for which it is renowned.
“These are transformational plans that will ensure we continue to provide our students and staff with world-class teaching and learning facilities, and will help us attract the best and brightest to Aberdeen.
“Revitalisation of our Old Aberdeen campus also helps support wider city ambitions to ensure our region grows in stature as a destination of choice.”