University backs multi-million investment in first class facilities

University backs multi-million investment in first class facilities

The University of Aberdeen today (Tuesday, June 26) gave the go-ahead to a massive programme of investment in major new facilities that should help recruit even more students and staff of the very highest calibre.

Three flagship projects are at the centre of the 10-year £230M capital investment programme that was approved this afternoon by the University's Governing Body, Court.

The three are the new Library; the Matthew Hay Project; and in partnership with Aberdeen City Council, a modern multi-purpose regional sports facility.  In addition, the University is also investing in new and refurbished academic buildings such as Fraser Noble, Zoology and Oceanlab. 

The new Library will be a showcase for a 200,000 strong collection of historic books and over 4,000 archival collections - that will make Aberdeen an international centre for the humanities. That Aberdeen has opted to use the Danish architects, schmidt hammer lassen who created the famous Royal Danish Library in Copenhagen, demonstrates the University's resolve to create a great modern building to match the splendour of its 500 year old campus. The new library is one the biggest and most important cultural projects undertaken in Scotland in recent years.

The University has been working closely with the design team to deliver a building which will meet the needs of all of the University, and which will also open up the possibility of much greater public access to our collections.  The work to date has delivered a design which has been positively received both within and outwith the University.  We are continuing to work with the design team, reviewing the scope and phasing of the project to ensure its effective delivery within the financial limits approved by Court.  

The Matthew Hay Project is a £16.75 million project, in partnership with NHS Grampian, which will create an outstanding purpose-built facility on Aberdeen's Foresterhill health campus for medical education and the ongoing development of 21st century skills for healthcare teams.  A total of £12 million has been committed by the two partner organisations, with an energetic fundraising appeal to raise a further £4.5 million being led by Professor Sir Graeme Catto. 

The new building, designed by Edinburgh-based architects Bennetts Associates, will teach anatomy and clinical skills to the next generation of doctors and will provide a superb training facility, equipped with the latest technology. The five-storey building will also provide first-class conference and lecture facilities, a simulated ward area for the training of students and staff, an IT training suite and a café and social areas designed to encourage informal mixing of different professionals and specialisms, adding further value to shared training.

Progress towards construction is on track. Planning permission was granted in September 2006 and enabling site work is almost complete. Construction will begin onsite in July this year, with the building scheduled for completion in early 2009. 

The £25.5 million Aberdeen Regional Sports Facility will establish a sporting centre on the site of the Chris Anderson Stadium at Linksfield.  The project is a partnership between the University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen City Council, and sportscotland, and received outline planning approval in June 2006.  The University and City Council are each contributing £8.75 million towards the first phase of this ambitious project, and have secured an additional £7 million from SportScotland.

The new sports facility will include an indoor football pitch, games hall and indoor athletics, along with a fitness suite, a café, a creche, offices and changing facilities. The site will also accommodate outdoor athletics facilities and a hockey pitch.

Construction is scheduled to commence in late summer 2007 and the sports centre will welcome the University's students, elite athletes and the local community in early 2009.

Professor Stephen Logan, Senior Vice Principal, is committed to the University's capital investment programme and following Court, he said: "The University of Aberdeen is in the midst of creating the beginnings of a new and possibly the most distinguished chapter in its six century history.  This investment is a key strand of our ambition to become one of the top 100 world universities.

"We shall strategically manage our estate and infrastructure to ensure we maximise our potential.  By doing this we will continually improve our physical environment so that we add value to our core activities, and provide a pleasant, safe, healthy, accessible and fit-for-purpose environment for all staff and students."

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