Hundreds of millions to be spent on ‘unnecessary’ campus refurb
£400 million will be spent on campus refurbs over the next five years
The uni are forking out an eye-watering £400 million on campus refurbishments which some students have branded “a waste”.
Work has already begun on the big campus refurb, which will include a new tech-library and a Green Heart of Campus.
But many say the work “isn’t really necessary” and could be better spent elsewhere.
The overhaul, expected to take five years, will see major redevelopments in an effort to finally let Old Joe be seen across campus.
The work includes:
• A new state of the art library, complete with 12km of open access shelving
• Halls which will welcome 725 freshers next year
• A £55 million sports centre, with an Olmpic sized swimming pool
The renovations, which started in June, will centre the university around a green park, dubbed the Green Heart of Campus.
The new library, located on the North West corner of campus, will have more study space, more computers and new shelving, making it easier to track down the books you want.
But some students aren’t convinced the work is needed, and say the money- which works out around £20,000 per undergrad- could be better spent elsewhere.
Second year english student, Cameron Blair, told The Tab: “Most students don’t really care about green stuff.
“The Campus is in a green and leafy suburb with plenty of tress, so why do we need more?
“Also, half of the year we spend inside because the weather is horrible and the other half we spend revising, so I don’t really see when we will get to appreciate this Green Heart.
“It seems a waste of time, money, space and resources.”
Physics student, Harry Little, agrees.
He said: “I feel the University is spending too much money on something that isn’t really necessary.
“I didn’t really know what changes were happening on campus- I only found out about the Library because a friend informed me.”
The overwhelming budget is enough to reduce annual tuition fees for undergraduates to £2,300- and would be enough to cover the combined budget deficit of Burkina Faso and Mauritius.
But other students have responded positively to the project, arguing that it will bring huge benefits to the student experience and the University’s standing and performance at undergraduate level.
Classics student, Ellie Cossey, said: “I will be sad to see the old library go but the uni’s plans for new one sound good.
“I think it’s good the University is trying to move along with technology but at the same time sticking to their heritage with the Green Heart of Campus.”
English and classics student, Abbie Dargie, was similarly positive about the redevelopment.
“The new library will be bigger and better than the last one,” she said.
“Not only will this mean more work areas but the new technology-rich space will allow Birmingham to keep performing as a top UK University.”
When approached the University defended the planned development project, insisting all work being undertaken is essential.
In a statement a university spokesperson said: “The development projects, worth close to £400 million over the next five years, will create outstanding new facilities which will benefit students, staff, visitors and the local community – whilst drawing on Aston Webb’s original campus masterplan, as well as subsequent plans, and laying a sound basis for the future.
“The project will enhance the setting of those buildings and features which represent the University’s heritage, and open up a striking green park at the heart of the campus – allowing the Joseph Chamberlain clock tower to be seen across campus, as was originally envisaged.
“The work will create new pedestrian routes including one from central campus to the Vale Village, to allow students, staff and visitors to move between different areas of campus with ease.”