Kirsty Craig : Glasgow University Campus Redevelopment Plans
Kirsty Craig, from the Development & Alumni Office, set the scene by referring to the University’s move to Gilmorehill in 1870 from High Street when it wanted more space. Then, as now, the University needed more money to deliver the move and had a fund raising campaign. Impressively Kirsty showed us the evidence that Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales made personal contributions to the Fund.
The University is expanding its campus by 25% and seeking to maintain the University’s international pre-eminence by delivering good quality buildings which contain cutting edge technology. Glasgow is proud that it punches above its weight and is aware that to compete globally in research it has to keep its labs and departments up to date.
It is a big programme and will be delivered in phases over 10 years. Kirsty was at pains to say that while they have a master plan, the University will not be averse to fine-tune proposals to suit evolving circumstances. A key element in the philosophy of the campus is to bring the community into its heart with the provision of eating and drinking places for all comers, not just students. Being embedded in the fabric of the West End with attractive links to Byres Road and University Avenue is seen as important to the long term character of the University.
Kirsty spoke of the James McLune Smith Building which is now at an advanced stage of construction and due to be opened next year. The building is proudly named after the first American African to be awarded a medical degree in 1837. It is to be a learning hub and the focus is on being both hi-tech and user friendly. Kirsty said they want it to be a ‘sticky’ building; that is, not just a building of lecture rooms but a place where people can snack and chat. One of the top features is the views that people will enjoy from the top of the building.
Another key building under construction is the Research Hub and due to be completed in 2021. It will be a multi-disciplinary building including quantum physics, nanotechnology, medicine, etc. Apart from the benefits of informal and formal collaboration between the disciplines, the University hope that the environment will be attractive to industry. The aspiration being to keep the university and its hinterland at the cutting edge of global research. Interestingly the University sees each field of research as temporary and will roll them over every 5 or 6 years to keep the Hub fresh.
The University’s ambitious Programme will cost about £1 billion. Some £775m in brick and mortar and the rest of the funds to cover staff and scholarships. While plans for most of the required funding are already in place, there is a gap of 11% which Glasgow hopes to raise philanthropically. Some £70m has already been raised or pledged, a remarkable figure.
Kirsty covered too much to be included here. However, members couldn’t wait to ask questions about this or that. These Kirsty handled with aplomb! One was in no doubt that our Club has many Glasgow alumni who are interested in the University’s future! A very good talk to start the new session. (For more background about investment in the City including the University see :