Global contractor Multiplex has signed the contract for the construction of the University of Glasgow’s campus development programme, one of the biggest educational infrastructure projects in Scotland’s history.
It was reported back in March that the contractor was selected to manage the £700 million first phase of the University’s estate expansion plan over the next decade.
This week, an official signing ceremony was carried out in the University’s iconic-Gilbert Scott building, attended by the principal and vice-chancellor, Professor Anton Muscatelli, Dr David Duncan, chief operating officer of the University of Glasgow, Professor Neal Juster, senior vice-principal and deputy vice-chancellor, and John Ballantyne, executive director, and Fergus Shaw, construction lead, of Multiplex.
Professor Muscatelli said: “The signing of this contract is a major milestone in the delivery of the University’s campus development programme which will see the most significant investment and expansion in our estate for more than a century, comparable in many ways with the move from the High Street to Gilmorehill in the 1870s.
“These plans are about far more than investment in buildings, however. Our focus is on creating an inclusive and welcoming campus, fit for the 21st century and beyond, which will continue to attract the brightest and best students and staff from across the globe.
“We are confident that Multiplex shares this vision and will deliver buildings that will inspire world-class teaching and learning as well as internationally-excellent research. Multiplex is a truly international company but it also has a very strong Scottish division. We are delighted to be working with the team who successfully delivered the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital on time and on budget.”
John Ballantyne from Multiplex said: “The University of Glasgow campus development will transform a significant area of the West End of Glasgow. Multiplex is delighted to be chosen as the university’s Programme Delivery Partner and share their goal to create an innovative, modern campus while remaining respectful to the rich heritage of Gilmorehill. In responding to the unique challenges of this development, our delivery team and supply chain partners are passionate about delivering a project legacy the university and the people of Glasgow can be proud of.”
Separate contracts for carrying out the enabling works to prepare for the construction phase have already been awarded to John Graham (Holdings) Ltd.
In February 2017, Glasgow City Council gave planning permission in principle to the University’s campus development masterplan for the former Western Infirmary site. The project will transform the West End of the city, bringing significant community, economic, environmental and cultural benefits as well as the creation of some 2,500 new jobs.
An initial £430m will be spent over the next five years on the first phase of the campus programme – part of a wider £1 billion investment which includes significant spending on refurbishing and improving the existing estate.
This first phase of the development will see the construction of the following new buildings, together with clearance of the Western Infirmary Site and the new landscaping of the public realm:
- A Learning and Teaching Hub
- A Research Hub to facilitate new multidisciplinary cutting edge research
- An Institute of Health and Wellbeing tackling the public health problems of Glasgow and beyond
- The Adam Smith Business School including space to grow our postgraduate student population
- A base for our College of Arts including new performance spaces
- Significant upgrade of our chemistry building (the Joseph Black Building)
The second phase, expected to start in 2023, will deliver:
- New teaching and research space for engineering
- An Innovation Quarter on Church Street to improve engagement with local industry and promote creation of new companies
- A building for research into chronic diseases
- The creation of a Social Justice Hub to lead research in the elimination of global inequalities
Enabling work has already started on the Learning and Teaching Hub site on University Avenue – the first new permanent building of the development. The Learning and Teaching Hub will link into the existing Boyd Orr building on University Avenue. Planning permission for the Learning and Teaching Hub was granted in December. It will deliver a 500-seater raked lecture theatre, four flat-floored lecture theatres and 1,000-plus spaces for learning.
In the longer term, the Learning and Teaching Hub should also provide much-needed conference space and facilities for outreach and widening participation work with schools. Its construction will necessitate the demolition of the Mathematics and Statistics building whose occupants recently moved into a temporary home on the former Western Infirmary site in April.
As programme delivery partner, Multiplex is committed to delivering a range of community benefits. These will include developing positive partnerships with external agencies that have a remit to provide jobs, training, and community and development opportunities for local people. It will also create an Onsite Innovation Centre that will be a hub for exhibition, learning and educational engagement about the project.