University of Aberdeen students' union to get £8 million redevelopment

Students at the University of Aberdeen and the Students' Association are set to benefit from an £8 million redevelopment of its student union building in the heart of the Old Aberdeen campus.

Working closely with the local community, Aberdeen University Students’ Association (AUSA) and the University of Aberdeen, are planning an ambitious renovation of the existing Butchart Centre, to deliver a greater range of facilities and services and a world class student experience.

Award-winning firm jmarchitects have been appointed to design AUSA’s new home with completion expected by 2018.

AUSA President Emily Beever said: “The shared vision driving the project is to provide a fit for purpose building for the Students’ Association that will enhance the student experience and strengthen AUSA’s commitment to growing, supporting and sustaining a dynamic student community with real influence.”

More than 1,000 students and staff members have already taken part in a survey on the future of the building. Their views and those of the local community will help ensure the renovated facility meets the needs of the student population and allows AUSA the space and facilities to represent the students to the highest level.

The new union will house a wide range of student services such as an advice centre and support for social enterprises as well as acting as a social hub. Plans also include a licensed café-bar and restaurant which will be open to the public and students, and well-designed spaces for study or recreation that fit the needs of the student community.

Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of Aberdeen said: “We want to continue to offer a world class student experience and a fully modernised union building that meets the needs of our expanding international student community is a key part of that.

“This £8 million investment by the University is a major part of our 10 year capital plan and demonstrates our commitment to ensuring Aberdeen ranks among the top students’ union facilities in the country.”

Jacqueline McKay, Chief Executive of AUSA, said: “As a charity, all profit we generate is reinvested in our community with the goal of building increased financial independence to develop and grow our work for and with the student community.”

Last year AUSA’s student members fundraised and donated £92,000 to local Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire charities and with the planned investment, developments and renovations, it is hoped this figure will increase.

Dewi Morgan, from The Old Aberdeen Community Council said: “The Old Aberdeen Community Council was delighted that AUSA chose to consult with us at an early stage in the redevelopment of the Butchart and has committed to keeping the community informed and involved.”

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