Super campus not hit by financial crisis

Neil Munro

Funding for the Pounds 300 million city-centre super campus in Glasgow will not be affected by the global financial crisis.

This was the confident prediction earlier in the week from Mark Batho, chief executive of the Scottish Funding Council, who said the massive project was still on track, despite the credit crunch.

Mr Batho told the annual staff conference at Glasgow's Central College: "Our planning is based upon a number of assumptions, the most critical of which are that costs are kept tightly under control as the planning proceeds, and that current levels of capital spending for colleges are carried forward into the next spending review.

"As long as those assumptions are met, it's all systems go - it's budgeted for and planned for," he said.

In May this year, Central, Stow, Metropolitan and Glasgow College of Nautical Studies set up a company to deliver the much-delayed New Campus Glasgow. With 50,000 students and 2,000 staff, it will be the biggest further education building project in the UK.

The project has appointed a new director, Iain Marley, the former director and architect of BBC Scotland's move from Queen Margaret Drive to Pacific Quay in Glasgow.

The campus, which will be built at two sites in Cathedral Street and Thistle Street, will go out to European Union tendering this month and a team of architects is expected to be appointed by next spring. Work is scheduled to begin in 2011 and be completed in 2016.

But tensions also remain at the heart of the project. Central College wants the four city centre colleges to merge into one super college - before locating to the new campus. But Stow and Glasgow Metropolitan plan a merger in advance of that, which central says could delay a final merger by five years.

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Neil Munro

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