Plans to revitalise the historic core of the University of Aberdeen's King's College campus have been given the go-ahead by Aberdeen City Council.
The plans to enhance facilities in King’s Quarter – in the immediate vicinity of King’s College – include the creation of a new flagship atrium, creating a central forum space with connections to surrounding buildings. There will also be improvements to the interiors of several areas, including the Old Senate Wing, Book Stack and Cromwell Tower.
The available space in King’s Quarter is currently underused, and the development will revive redundant buildings in the heart of the campus, safeguarding their future use with quality new teaching and learning space, to accommodate both increased student numbers and provide more flexibility for teaching.
As well as helping the University modernise its teaching spaces to accommodate new learning styles, it will also maintain the magnificent facades of these historic buildings and avoid the need to build anew, thereby providing new teaching capacity in an environmentally sustainable way.
The approval comes as part of multi-million pound ambitions to revitalise King's College campus, including the relocation of the University’s Business School to a new home on the site of the currently dormant Johnston Halls, which has already received planning approval. Work on the University’s new Science Teaching Hub, located off St Machar Drive, is already well advanced and the building is scheduled to open next year.
Professor Alan Speight, Vice Principal (Global Student Recruitment), who leads on the King’s Quarter and Johnston Halls redevelopment plans, commented:
“Today’s decision by the planning committee marks a milestone in our transformational plans to create a vibrant learning environment at the historic heart of the campus, and will provide a focal point for engagement with the local community.
“These new spaces will provide a modern, adaptable, high quality teaching environment for undergraduate and postgraduate students that will be ideally suited to working across academic disciplines, in line with the interdisciplinary aims of our Aberdeen 2040 strategy.
“I am pleased that in their recommendation to the planning committee, the planning officers noted our careful consideration of the historic environment to enable underused listed buildings to be brought back into productive use, which reflects the detailed work we have undertaken on the proposals over the past two years.”
Professor George Boyne, University Principal, added: “With work on our new Science Teaching Hub well advanced, and planning approval now granted on both our King’s Quarter and Business School developments, we are making significant progress towards meeting the needs of modern students with contemporary, adaptable and technology-ready facilities that will continue to attract the best and brightest to Aberdeen.”