£46 million but still no sports centre

Cambridge University will spend £46 million on a new science building, despite telling students it cannot afford to provide them with sports facilities.

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The founder of the campaign for a University sports centre has expressed her anger at the announcement that £46 million will be spent on the development of a new science building.

Charlotte Roach accused the University of failing its student body by refusing to find similar funds for a proposed sports centre project.

It was announced on Friday that the huge sum will be spent on merging the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy into one building on the West Cambridge site.

The new building will include a specialist facility to house sensitive electron microscopes used by the department.

But the move has itself come under the microscope from the 800yearswithnosportscentre campaign, whose founder claims that it demonstrates academic elitism:

“The university should prioritise supporting the needs of their major student body over and above fundraising and updating an existing department for the use of a few academics.

“Cambridge has among the worst sports facilities in the country. I only wish the University committed as much effort to funding that as they do to this building”

Llewellyn Kinch, a Blues cyclist and natsci, was more reserved: “It’s great that the university has shown the ability to get money for a project like this but I only wish they could do the same when it comes to sports facilities.

“I’m distraught at the idea that people might be put off coming here because of the poor facilities – to be honest I spend more time doing sport than in the department!”

Roach has called for the University to publicly commit to the sports centre project.

“At the moment they are misleading future applicants by showing models and plans for the centre without making a public commitment to building it.

“They have just announced that they are building a new science department to the tune of £46 million but can’t even commit publicly to the sports centre.”

The new science block is expected to reduce running costs by £100,000 per year by combining the department into one building, instead of the five it currently uses.

The project will be funded by the HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) capital investment fund, with £2.25m being provided by the Wolfson Foundation.

The University has yet to comment.