An in depth look at Warwick University’s major expansion plans
Do we really want more disruption on campus?
Warwick University is expanding rapidly, with a number of projects on the go, including Warwick Arts Centre, National Automotive Innovation Centre and the Sports Hub.
However, despite all the benefits that these new facilities must bring, is it worth it for the day-to-day disruption faced by students on campus.
The University plans to undertake nine large projects over the next four years. Will these current plans greatly benefit students and the university at large, or is Warwick University just building for the sake of it?
Warwick Arts Centre:
The Warwick Arts Centre has been under development for the past year. Currently, the theatre has been refurbished with new seating and improved accessibility. The foyer too has been reshaped in order to "define the individual areas."
Furthermore, the bookshop is in the process of transforming into a 'Creative Learning Space', which is set to be completed at some-point within this academic year.
Phase Two of this process is set to begin in late Autumn of 2018. This will include the demolition of the cinema and Mead Gallery, with refashioned versions taking their place, all of which has been promised to be completed by Autumn 2020.
National Automotive Innovation Centre (NAIC):
The NAIC will be the largest automotive research and development facility in Europe. Over £150 million is being invested into the building through a long-term commitment between Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Motors European Technical Centre, WMG, and the University of Warwick, along with a variety of supplier companies. Furthermore, the Higher Education Funding Council England has provided £15 million in funding to support the project.
Professor Lord Bhattacharyya commented that,
“The National Automotive Innovation Centre will provide a critical mass of research and development capability combining automotive expertise nationally and internationally in ways that will turn Coventry into the UK’s first Smart Motor City and will also significantly contribute to the delivery of the UK’s national industrial strategy".
The new Sports Hub will be located off Leighfield Road. The Facility will include a sports hall, swimming pool, fitness suites, climbing and bouldering walls, squash courts, studio spaces, sports pitches, netball courts, and a cafe. The University has not forgotten about the existing sports facilities however, which will also undergo improvements during this development process.
Faculty of Arts
Currently this faculty, made up of seven Departments, is situated within Millburn House and the Humanities Building. However, they will be set to move by 2023 to this new development. The building will contain a "large open plan multi-purpose engagement space, a cafe, two lecture theatres, and a variety of spaces for social learning" and will be located on-top of the existing multi-storey car park next to the Arts Centre.
Professor Simon Gilson, Chair of the Faculty of Arts, stated that:
“We are looking for a building that is open, inviting and flexible. A place that allows collaboration, creativity and innovation to flourish. That acts as a hub for public engagement in the humanities and creative arts, and that serves the entire University, its stakeholders and the public, by nurturing cultural value and creating partnerships at the regional, national and international level.”
Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building
This will be a new five-storey addition to the Gibbet Hill Campus. Although, similar to a Biomedical Degree there isn't any exciting news to report here. The development simply appears to be your standard research and office space, enclosed in a pretty glass housing.
These projects certainly look promising, however, the resulting disturbances is a certain negative consequence.
Noise and the disruption of particular pathways has been a constant factor during many student's time at Warwick and will undoubtedly continue long after many of us graduate.
Warwick University has attempted to reduce the impact of these disturbances through instigating building processes in multiple stages. However, it certainly seems that the University has no intention of slowing down this vast growth anytime soon.
The continuing expansion of Warwick University has caused some to question the necessity of the building works, and how they aim to benefit.
Images provided by Warwick University