Estates Projects

Estates Projects
Science Teaching Hub

Q & As

How will the work affect me?
Every step will be taken to minimise disruption to staff and students, however with the construction of any building of this size there will be times when there may be restrictions to parking or access and also additional noise at times throughout the day. Any significant periods of disruption will be communicated to staff as early as possible.

Will there be noise?
There will sometimes be noisy works - every effort will be taken to minimise disruption.

Will the work affect access to buildings or parking?
Some parking bays have already been closed (parallel to the Glucksman centre within Sir Duncan Rice Library) and these will remain closed for project duration of the construction. Any additional parking bay closures should be minimal but will be advised upon in due course.

In general, staff are advised to remain vigilant as although the remaining spaces around these areas remain open there will be a lot of HGV movement and site traffic.

When will the building be completed?
The Science Teaching Hub will be open for teaching in 2021.

What will be taught in the building?
The building will provide the main teaching laboratories for students studying chemistry, physiology, biomedical sciences, geosciences and biological sciences. In addition, the facilities will support the University’s current public engagement and widening access activities.

South Quad


What is the work underway at South Quad?
Four lecture theatres are being transformed into two new 153 seat collaborative/group working lecture theatres. A lift and disabled facilities are also being installed as the building did not have disabled access and this will make the spaces accessible to all.

How and when were the works approved?
As with all Capital projects  for the physical estate this work is within  the oversight of  the Capital Programme Management Committee (CPMC) and Policy and Resources Committee, which in turn reports to Court.

The refurbishment was first presented to CPMC in October 2017 and agreed as a key priority which had to be taken forward. The refurbishment  has been reported through these forums since, with final approvals in February 2019. In accordance with good practice a Project Board was asked to be formed at the February meeting of CPMC.  

Why was there a need to change the existing lecture theatres?
The work is needed to accommodate and facilitate the growth and changing requirement of the University community and also meets a desire for collaborative group working facilities. Renovation work was also required to address serious deficiencies and dilapidation of the existing lecture theatres and supporting infrastructure. The last substantive upgrade of these facilities  was in 1972.

Have staff been consulted?
The requirement was raised by a School and also identified through the school planning cycle as essential for the delivery of planned growth in students. Consultation was undertaken with the School to ensure the proposal  would respond to needs and reflected best practice in Teaching and Learning spaces design and standards.

Will any historic features be lost in the work underway?
The building and façade are listed and no historic features will be changed or lost. The work being conducted is to the interior only.

What conservation approvals have been secured?
All required consents have been secured prior to work going ahead - Planning, Listed Building Consent, Building Warrant. Through this process Historic Environment Scotland was been given the opportunity to comment.

When will they be finished?
The work should be completed in time for the start of 2020 – with usage expected to begin in February 2020.

Who will get to use the new lecture spaces?
The new spaces will be available through normal practice for the central teaching pool.

How much is the University investing?
In addition to the exciting concepts for the wider King’s campus regeneration project, £1.9m net of VAT is being invested in the South Quad. This investment includes all the functional enhancements, remodelling of the spaces to achieve capacity requirements and the physical and digital  infrastructure upgrading required to support the use. Investment will update lecture theatres last refurbished in the 1970s up to the modern teaching and learning environment that students expect today.


South Quad Project – 3D view

South Quad Project – Ground Floor layout

South Quad Project – First Floor layout

South Quad – collaborative lecture theatres

How lecture theatres currently look

King's College Transformation


The University plans to revitalise the heart of its historic King’s College campus with a new home for the Business School and improvements to the University’s historic core to deliver new teaching and learning space.

The plans - part of a wider package of ongoing and proposed campus regeneration projects with a combined cost of almost £100 million - will see the Business School relocate from the MacRobert Building to a new single-site home in Johnston Halls, which will undergo a major refurbishment.

In addition, enhancements to facilities in the immediate area of King’s College include a new atrium connecting to surrounding buildings. This will see improvements to the interiors of a number of areas including the Old Senate Wing, Book Stack and Cromwell Tower.

This presentation (restricted to staff only) provides further information on the scope of the plans, as well as illustrative examples of initial design concepts.


Why is all this work needed?

Central to this major investment in our campus is the projected growth in our student population over the next 20 years, which requires expanded and enhanced teaching and learning facilities to meet the needs of student and staff numbers.

Where is this projected growth coming from?

We are expecting large growth in our Postgraduate Taught (PGT) and International numbers as we widen our international appeal. We expect to see many more students from our existing markets such as China and India and also from new overseas markets such as Pakistan that we are currently developing. But ultimately these enhancements will benefit all our students.

What gives you confidence you’ll see this growth in our student population?

The University has ambitious plans to grow, and have the ability and capacity to meet the growing expectations of the next generation of students.

Supported by our new 2040 Strategy, continued new programme development and enhanced marketing, the University is confident its educational offerings and status as a world-leading research institution will continue to attract students from around the world, and new space must be established to support that ongoing growth.

What will this deliver in terms of new teaching space?

Across both projects within the programme, a significant volume of new formal teaching space will be added to King’s College, with a combined capacity to accommodate 786 people in formal teaching space. Above this there will be capacity for break-out and information teaching or social spaces.

Additionally, capacity for an additional 177 people will be available in Cromwell Tower following its transformation, meaning in total, the combined capacity of all formal teaching spaces to be developed via this programme will be 963.

How will this benefit students?

Our plans will provide state-of-the-art, accessible facilities, meeting the needs and expectations of contemporary students, providing a combination of formal and learning social spaces, and reflecting trends in pedagogic delivery, particularly for PGT students.

Plans will also provide a focal point for students to engage in group and collaborative work in a mix of open and quiet spaces.

What about the benefits for staff?

There are a number of benefits for staff. For Business School staff it means co-location on one site with access to specialised facilities expected of a world-class Business School. Office accommodation will be refurbished to a high standard, there will be co-location of PGR Business students, refurbished office accommodation of a high standard, with breakout spaces adjoining offices enabling greater social integration between staff and research students and visiting academic industry and academic colleagues.

Why does the Business School need a new home?

The Business School is growing fast and is predicted to continue to do so and needs more accommodation for staff and students. A new home will provide a focal point and a sense of identity for the Business School as well as a point of attraction for visitors and external engagement. The relocation 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.

How much will the work cost?

The transformation of these spaces will cost £50 million and are part of ongoing and proposed campus regeneration at Old Aberdeen with a combined cost of almost £100 million.

Can the University afford it?

The cost of the project will be recovered through revenues achieved by growth in our student population, notably at PGT level which, University-wide, is projected to grow by 77% from 2020/21 to 2028/29, and particularly the international student cohort, which is due to increase by 99% collectively across all levels over the same period.

How will you avoid running over budget?

The proposals have an estimated cost of £50million and factors in the potential impacts of inflationary increases to construction costs.  There are robust project management processes in place to ensure delivery on budget.

When would work start?

Subject to all the necessary approvals and the appointment of contractors we expect work is likely to start in October 2020.

When do you expect the work to be completed?

The new Business School is scheduled to open by summer 2022, while the King’s Quarter development is expected to be completed by summer 2023.

How disruptive will this work be?

The disruption arising from the Johnston development will be minimal as the building is unoccupied and in an accessible spacious area of campus.

There will be some disruption during the King’s element of the project, however, this will be managed through phasing of the project and careful consideration will be given to the various users of the space. A group dedicated to undertaking planning around this will be formed to oversee this.

Who will be doing the work?

We are not yet at the stage of appointing contractors to carry out the work.

Why these buildings and not others? New King’s for example?

We have identified space on campus that is underutilised and which we consider to offer the strongest potential for accommodating growth in our student population through the development of new teaching and learning space.

We have focused on repurposing buildings that will provide net new teaching space, developing areas that will achieve a clear sense of space, connectivity, and place.

There is also a logistical side to the sequencing of projects. For example, it would be too disruptive to take King’s Quarter and New King’s out of service at the same time. Consequently, work on New King’s would only be able to start on completion of the other projects. Plans for the redevelopment of New King’s will be phased for future campus developments, using alternative funding streams.

Have staff and students been consulted?

We have taken a consultative approach from the outset through the Programme Board set up to oversee the development of the proposals, which comprises representation from Schools, AUSA, Professional Services, and other key users. In addition open sessions were held for staff and students to discuss the plans.

The plans are being taken forward by two Project Management Groups which are leading work to define the detail of the redevelopment, and which will continue to consult with key users.

Throughout the process we will provide regular updates and opportunities to contribute will follow.

What measures will you take to ensure the historic character of the campus is maintained?

The historical features are the elements that we want to protect and showcase through this work whilst providing the most modern teaching and learning facilities possible. The building and façade are listed and any changes would require all regulatory consents to be secured, a process which Historic Environment Scotland would be consulted on.

How is the project being managed and who has oversight?

The proposals were developed by a Programme Board led by Vice Principal Alan Speight with representation from Schools, AUSA, Professional Services and other key users who have been widely consulted.

The plans will be taken forward by two Project Management Groups (PMG) - one for the Johnston Halls redevelopment and the other for King’s Quarter - led by Professor Graeme Nixon and Dr Paula Sweeney respectively.

Each PMG will now lead work to define the detail of the redevelopment, working alongside independent consultants Turner and Townsend to develop the plans in consultation with key users, prior to the preparation of a formal planning application to be submitted to Aberdeen City Council by spring 2020.

What do I do if I want to make any suggestions?

You can contact PMG leads directly at and

What are the benefits to the wider community?

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.

What’s happening to the books in The Stack?

We are exploring different options for off-site storage for decanting the current contents of The Stack and the Old Senate Wing. This will involve a secure off-site premises with accessibility to items provided as normal. Users should see no difference to the service they receive – indeed, the Library’s future ambitions include improvements to physical and digital content provision.

How will you ensure accessibility?

In addition to the new lift service that has been installed as part of King’s South Quad refurbishment the proposals include a circulation core which will comprise both lift and stair access to the adjacent buildings.  Evacuation lifts ensuring accessibility has been a key feature of the concept design.