PS390m scheme to make York campus 'best in the country'

Hes West to get a PS390million revamp, aiming to enhance accommodation, teaching and research facilities.

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Credit: Courtesy of the University of York
Credit: Courtesy of the University of York

As part of the plans, a tenth college will be created - but, crucially, the University says there will not be a large increase in student numbers, one of the main criticisms of the Heslington East expansion.

As well as improving research, the new development aims to enhance student experience, an area where York has often struggled, having been ranked 37th in the UK for student experience by Times Higher Education.

The University is seeking to build high quality residential accomodation, a new teaching facility and a further expansion of the library.

York's sports facilities, which have already seen improvements over the summer will also be further enhanced with an aim to specialise in cycling.

While campus will be given a new look, the parkland layout will remain.

This new investment, which will be introduced over ten years, comes after the addition of Hes East campus.

Since 2000, the University hasinvested in 20 new buildings on the original Heslington West campus and has completed the first and second phases of a £750m campus expansion at Heslington East.

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A further £60 million was invested throughout 2011/2012 to deliver the new Sports Village, a new Langwith College, library refurbishments and new chemistry research facilities.

For current and future students at York, the investment means major improvements to existing campus facilities, and the construction of new academic and social buildings, study spaces and college accommodation.

The first buildings to be completed will be ready by the start of the next academic year in 2014, including the new Biomedicine facility.

The new Environment Building, which will be built on the site of Wentworth Block E, will be ready for use at the start of the academic year in 2015.

David Duncan, the University Registrar and Secretary said: "Last term the Campus Development Steering Group looked for the first time at comprehensive plans for the phased redevelopment of Heslington West.

"These plans have been developed further over the summer and now go forward for consideration by the senior management group and Council.

"Our aim is to make the Heslington campus as a whole one of the best in the country for both student experience and research."

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He added: "We estimate the total cost of the proposed works to be just under £400m, with an additional £40m for IT infrastructure and research equipment.

"The plans will include major new developments for the sciences, high quality residential accommodation for all students living on campus, a new teaching facility and a further significant expansion of the library.

"There will be further enhancements to our sports facilities, which after this summer's works are already something to be proud of.

"We intend to keep faith with the original layout of the parkland campus, while dramatically improving the overall quality of the estate."

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Kallum Taylor, YUSU President, commented: "Some of the buildings on Hes West should've been replaced 25 years ago, and not to say you can't have a good time in the older blocks, they're a bit of an embarrassing quirk about the campus.

"We completely back the plans to restructure Hes West before Heslington East leaves it behind and will look to play a role in these plans. It'll make for several loud years and lots of building work, but will be worth it in the end."

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James Posted on Tuesday 1 Oct 2013

Great, even more money going to the sciences...don't they have enough buildings already???


Derek Posted on Tuesday 1 Oct 2013

Where is the money from?


@James Posted on Wednesday 9 Oct 2013

The humanities can be taught pretty much anywhere - all that's required is a large enough lecture theatre and a well-stocked library.

The sciences, however, require large and expensive labs, the equipment in which must be regularly updated in order to remain on the cutting edge - something especially important for research.

Spending more money on the sciences doesn't imply that the university values the sciences more highly, only that the sciences are much more expensive to teach and research. Of course, the humanities should be invested in too, and it's important not to let them lag behind, but this simply requires less funds.