£200 million budget announced for various new student facilities

The University of Edinburgh has assigned a budget of more than £200 million to the improvement of various student facilities over the next eight years.

This was announced by Vice-Principal Planning, Resources and Research Policy, Professor Jonathan Seckl, in a press release by the University’s on 8 January 2018.

New and improved teaching and study spaces, a Student Centre, a Health and Wellbeing Centre, and sports infrastructures will be financed by this latest upgrade of university sites and facilities.

This is an investment for an enhanced ‘Edinburgh experience’, as Professor Seckl explained in the press release.

He added that it is “a privilege to provide our students with exceptional teaching and learning spaces, a brilliant library, as well as some of the very best social and sports facilities anywhere in the UK.”

One of the jewels of the central campus, Teviot Row House, will be completely refurbished and made fully accessible.

However, the world’s oldest purpose-built students’ union, which opened in 1889, will not lose its unique character.

Moreover, Teviot Row House will be directly connected to the new nearby student service building in George Square by a bridge.

This change arguably carries a degree of symbolic significance, as it will be the first physical connection of student services from the University and Edinburgh University Students’ Association.

This £82 million development will also include the creation of a café-lined walkway running along Charles Street Lane, which will be open to members of the university community, as well as the public.

Within a stone’s throw from Teviot Row House, a new Health and Wellbeing Centre will be opened in 7 Bristo Square, which is planned to undergo an £8.4 million revamp. Within the new facility, the University Health Centre and an expanded Pharmacy will be brought together with the Counselling and Disability Service.

Professor Seckl pointed out that thanks to the budget, the university could pursue its plans to further increase the number of new study spaces.

King’s Buildings Campus are due to receive their share of refurbishment, too. The Murchison House project, which is going to deliver a student-facing learning and teaching hub in 2019, integrating student services and a café, is already under way.

Finally, the university’s indoor and outdoor sports sites will also be improved.

Work on all-weather pitches at the Peffermill complex has already begun. Furthermore, funding has been approved for improvement of the University’s rowing facilities at Strathclyde Park in Lanarkshire.

Overall, more than £30 million are budgeted for outdoor sports. Both of these sites will be open to elite and recreational student use. After the recent opening of the university’s first satellite gym at Easter Bush campus, parts of the £200 million budget will provide for further gyms.

Besides the numerous plans for new student facilities, the university is also planning to invest in the improvement and the increased accessibility of already existing facilities.

Across the different campuses, buildings are set to be made more accessible through the provision of £15 million.

Related to that, the recording of lectures through the Media Hopper Replay system and their online provision are planned to be rolled out across all 400 teaching spaces over the next three years, in order to allow students to access material after a lecturing event has taken place.

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