- 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.
How lecture theatres currently look
- King's College Transformation
In addition to the Science Teaching Hub and South Quad projects which are both already under way, plans, at a much earlier stage, are also being explored to repurpose and modernise other historical areas of the King’s College campus which could be utilised more effectively.
Q1. Which existing buildings are going to be renovated?
A1. Discussions, led by the Teaching and Learning King’s College Programme Board, are ongoing and there are no final plans yet. However, some of the buildings identified as having potential for development or renovation include the Senate Wing, Stack, Cromwell Tower, and The Linklater Rooms.
Q2. When is work going to start?
A2. As above, we are only at the early stages so we cannot say yet when any work will start. Consultations between the Programme Board and teaching user groups will be setup to ensure an open dialogue.
Q3. Why do we need to spend money on this?
A3. The historic heart of our King’s College campus is perhaps our most unique and inspiring feature. Studying at an ancient university is a big draw for prospective students but currently many of the buildings in this area are outdated and underused. Modernising and renovating these iconic buildings will breathe new life into this part of campus, and provide our staff with the facilities they need to deliver a world class, and truly original, student experience.
Q4. Will staff get to have their say?
A4. Yes. The views of user groups will be sought throughout the process to ensure the proposal will respond to needs and reflected best practice in Teaching and Learning spaces design and standards.
Q5. Will any historic features be lost?
A5. The historical features are the elements that we want to 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.
Q6. How long will the work take and when will it be finished?
A6. As we have yet to establish the full scope of what work is to be carried out, it is not yet possible to attach a timescale to any element at this stage.
Q7. When will we be updated on the plans?
A7. User groups will be consulted throughout and when the scope of the proposed projects becomes clearer and plans are approved by the relevant bodies communications will be issued to staff and stakeholders.
King’s Quarter Transformation project
The King’s Quarter transformation project is investigating possibilities for enhancing a number of University buildings in Old Aberdeen, these include: King’s College, Cromwell Tower, the Stack, and the Senate Wing.
Throughout the summer, staff and students have attended consultation sessions and sent suggestions and ideas through email and Yammer. The feedback has been extremely valuable in letting us know what is important to staff and students currently, and what future possibilities might be.
The traditional façade of the buildings will stay as they are, this project is looking at the internal fit-out of the buildings and how buildings connect with each other, as well and ensuring that accessibility issues are addressed.
Themes already identified from the feedback are:
- The University of Aberdeen is an ancient university, but we need a way of embracing modernity into our estate without compromising the historic nature of our buildings
- King’s College should provide an area for the public to engage with the University (eg a “front door” to encourage visitors/tourists)
Primary drivers for teaching & learning and associated spaces
- Spaces that can support teaching & learning methods rather than constraining them, where flexibility is key
- Both informal collaboration space and quiet studying space is needed
- Technology needs to be appropriate for the discipline and/or method of teaching & learning
- Museum/exhibition/gallery space to support teaching/learning/research – to make good use of all the university collections and to help integrate the university into the community in a better way
- Flow within and between buildings
- Accessibility to spaces and within spaces themselves
- Teaching & learning and other spaces need to be “uplifting” in terms of colour and design
- Basic aspects should not be forgotten about eg good lighting, ventilation etc
- Technology needs to be standardised across all teaching areas to ensure that academic staff and students have a consistent experience across campus (so this also relates to other buildings across campus which will be under longer-term planning for regeneration)
The Programme Board leading this project comprises academics, professional services staff, representation from AUSA and is led by Vice-Principal Professor Alan Speight.