Aberdeen University has lodged plans to demolish an old extension as part of a multi-million-pound project to transform its King’s College campus.
Proposals have been submitted to Aberdeen City Council seeking permission to knock down the “book stack” building and kitchen extensions to the old library at James MacKay Hall.
Following the relocation of the library, the existing archive spaces at King’s College are surplus to requirements.
Removal of the book stack and the subsequent refurbishment of the existing space will mean there is room for a new teaching space and the creation of a teaching and learning hall in the the North Courtyard and Odell Courtyard also feature as part of the redevelopment.
Alterations to repurpose and improve existing buildings such as Elphinstone Hall, Old Senate Wing, Kings College Centre, the Linklater rooms and the Cromwell Tower have also been proposed to improve campus access.
Currently the design of stairs and steps – and a lack of lifts in the buildings and surrounding area – don’t comply with modern design standards or expectations surrounding accessibility.
These latest plans seek to rectify the matter.
Due to the complexity of the build and its enclosed location, the university believes that the redevelopment could take around two years to complete.
Professor Alan Speight, vice-principal and chairman of the King’s Quarter transformation board, said: “These are exciting proposals to rejuvenate an underused area of King’s College, which will provide a focal point for engagement with the local community, as well as fostering interdisciplinary work and postgraduate skills which will help the local economy in its recovery from the pandemic.
“However, we will be cautious and prudent around the timing of these works, if they are approved.
“Currently we have paused capital project development work until we are fully aware of the impact of the pandemic on the university, and any decision to change that would have to be taken by our governing body.”
Investment plans for the King’s College campus worth £50 million had been approved by the university’s governing court in 2019.
One of the driving forces behind the education institution’s plan is an anticipated growth in the university’s student population over the next 10 years.
As well as improving accessibility, the proposals are part of larger goals to compete globally with other higher education institutions.
Prior to submitting plans, the project team had consulted with university staff, Aberdeen City Council, Old Aberdeen Community Council and the Old Aberdeen Heritage Society.
University forums have also allowed staff and students the opportunity to engage and
comment on the developing proposals.